Seven is a neo-noir detective thriller by director David Fincher, which focuses on the young, idealistic Detective Mills (Brad Pitt) and the seasoned, world weary Detective Somerset (Morgan Freeman) investigating a series of grisly murders inspired by the seven deadly sins. Forgetting the abysmal Alien 3, this was Fincher’s first feature length film as a director that really lays the groundwork for his signature style, that he shows with unrestrained delight in his later films. Pitch black and grim in its delivery, Fincher takes us through the seedy underbelly of the unnamed American city, one which is permanently shrouded in fog and rain. This is the noir cinematic style at its most raw and visceral; with everything from the grainy, washed out imagery to the morally ambiguous lead characters.
Throughout the film the identity of the murderer is left clouded in mystery, as we follow the investigation and only ever know as much as the two detectives. That’s why it’s incredibly shocking when the murderer appears so nonchalantly towards the climax of the film, walking into the police precinct with a shaved head, a blank expression and covered in blood screaming “Detective!” at the top of his lungs. If this introduction isn’t shocking enough the murderer is played by none other than Kevin f**king Spacey, one of the biggest names in Hollywood at the time who was conveniently left out of any promotional material for the film. Despite the deeply complex twists and turns that had been present in the narrative until this point, it finally seemed like everything would become more straightforward, until the final kick in the murderer’s master plan.
At Doe’s insistence the two detectives drive the three of them to a remote desert location, where Doe promises to show them his final two victims. Shortly after arriving a delivery van turns up with a parcel. Doe begins telling Mills about how jealous he is of Mills’ life and marriage to Tracy (Gwyneth Paltrow), which antagonizes Mills. Somerset opens the box, and in horror, tells Mills to stay back and not listen to Doe. Doe continues to taunt the detective, as Mills frantically and repeatedly asks what is in the box. Doe reveals that out of his own envy he had killed Tracy and placed her head in the box, before goading Mills to shoot him, becoming wrath himself and fulfilling the seven deadly sins murders. Despite Somerset’s pleas, the news that Tracy was pregnant drives Mills over the edge, as he shoots Doe 6 times. Police converge and take a devastated Mills away, as Somerset quotes Hemingway “The world is a fine place and worth fighting for. I agree with the second part.” Utterly devastating and incredibly depressing, this is one of the most effective endings to any film, and one of the most iconic scenes in an already superb film.
On 5th September 2016, Warner Bros UK. launches the Iconic Moments Collection, a beautifully matching packaged set of 22 standout titles celebrating the breadth of their catalogue.