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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Septenary of Horror.
"At first sin is a stranger in the soul; then it becomes a guest; and when we are habituated to it, it becomes as if the master of the house." - Tolstoy.
Although not originating from the bible, the concept of deadly sins is almost as old as Christian doctrine itself. Theologians like 4th century Greek monk Evagrius of Pontus first compiled catalogues of...
Published on May 30 2004 by Themis-Athena

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Aspect Ratio a let down
I was excited to be able to purchase this fine film on blu-ray and viewed it right away when it arrived. I was upset to see that the origional aspect radio was no intact. As a true movie buff I want to see any movie in the correct aspect ratio how it was meant to be seen. The PQ is far superior to the old school two sided non-anamorphic ws dvd I have owned for years...
Published on May 18 2009 by twokiloseven

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Septenary of Horror., May 30 2004
Themis-Athena (from somewhere between California and Germany) - See all my reviews
"At first sin is a stranger in the soul; then it becomes a guest; and when we are habituated to it, it becomes as if the master of the house." - Tolstoy.
Although not originating from the bible, the concept of deadly sins is almost as old as Christian doctrine itself. Theologians like 4th century Greek monk Evagrius of Pontus first compiled catalogues of deadly offenses against the divine order, which 6th century pope Gregory the Great consolidated into a list of seven sins, which in turn formed the basis of the works of medieval/renaissance writers like St. Thomas Aquinas ("Summa Theologiae"), Geoffrey Chaucer ("Canterbury Tales"), Christopher Marlowe ("Dr. Faustus"), Edmund Spenser ("The Faerie Queene") and Dante Alighieri ("Commedia Divina"/"Purgatorio"). And in times when the ability to read was a privilege rather than a basic skill, the depiction of sin in paintings wasn't far behind; particularly resulting from the 16th century's reformulation of church doctrine, the works of artists like Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel the Elder brought the horrific results of humankind's penchant to indulge in vice back into general consciousness with surrealistic eloquence, reminding their viewers that no sin goes unseen (Bosch, "The Seven Deadly Sins") and that its commission leads straight into a hell reigned by gruesome, grotesque demons and devils whose sole purpose is to torture those fallen into their hands (Bosch, "The Hay-Wagon" and "The Last Judgment;" Bruegel, "The Triumph of Death" and "The Tower of Babel").
More recently, the seven deadly sins have been the subject of Stephen Sondheim's play "Getting Away With Murder" and a ballet by George Balanchine ("Seven Deadly Sins"); and on the silver screen the topic has been addressed almost since the beginning of filmmaking (Cabiria [1914], Intolerance [1916]). Thus, "Se7en" builds on a solid tradition both in its own domain and in other art forms, topically as well as in its approach, denouncing society's apathy towards vice and crime. Yet - and although expressly referencing the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, Chaucer and Dante - David Fincher's movie eschews well-trodden paths and grabs the viewer's attention from the beginning; and it does so not merely by the depiction of serial killer John Doe's (Kevin Spacey's) crimes, which could easily degenerate into a mindless bloodfest that would defeat the movie's purpose. (Not that there isn't a fair share of blood and gore on display; both visually and in the characters' dialogue regarding those details not actually shown; but Fincher uses the crimes' gruesome nature to create a sense of stark realism, rather than for shock value alone.) In addition, Doe's mindset is painstakingly presented by the opening credits' jumpy nature, his "lair"'s apocalyptic makeup and his notebooks, all of which were actually written out (at considerable expense), and whose compilation is shown underlying the credits. The movie's atmosphere of unrelenting doom is further underscored by a color scheme dominated by brown, gray and only subdued hues of other colors, and by the fact that almost every outdoors scene is set in rain. Moreover, although screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker explains on the DVD that the story was inspired by his observations in New York (and the movie was shot partly there, partly in L.A.), it is set in a faceless, nameless city, thus emphasizing that its concern isn't a specific location but society generally.
Central to the movie is the contrast between world-weary Detective Somerset (Morgan Freeman) who, while decrying the rampant occurrence of violence in society, for much of the movie seems to have resigned himself to his inability to do something meaningful about this (and therefore seems to accept apathy for himself, too, until his reluctant final turnaround), and younger Detective Mills (Brad Pitt), who fought for a reassignment to this particular location, perhaps naively expecting his contributions to actually make a difference; only to become a pawn in Doe's scheme instead and thus show that, given the right trigger, nobody is beyond temptation. As such, Somerset and Mills are not merely another incarnation of the well-known old-cop-young-cop pairing. Rather, their characters' development over the course of the film forces each viewer to examine his/her own stance towards vice.
Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt perfectly portray the two detectives; while Freeman imbues his Will Somerset with a quiet dignity, professionalism and learning, muted by profound but not yet wholly irreversible resignation, Pitt's David Mills is a brash everyman from the suburbs with an undeniable streak of prejudice, a penchant for quick judgment and a thorough lack of sophistication, both personally and culturally. Notable are also the appearances of Gwyneth Paltrow (significantly Brad Pitt's real-life girlfriend at the time) as Mills's wife Tracy and ex-marine R. Lee Ermey as the police captain. Yet, from his very first appearance onwards, this is entirely Kevin Spacey's film. Reportedly, Brad Pitt especially fought hard for his casting; and it is indeed hard to imagine "Se7en" with anybody other than the guy who, that same year, also won an Oscar for portraying devilish Keyser Soze in "The Usual Suspects": No living actor has Spacey's ability to simultaneously express spine-chilling villainy, laconic indifference and limitless superiority with merely a few gestures and vocal inflections.
While "Se7en" can certainly claim the "sledgehammer" effect on its viewers sought by its fictional killer, the punishment meted out to Doe's victims - taking their perceived sins to the extreme - pales in comparison to that awaiting sinners according to medieval teachings. (Inter alia, gluttons would thus be forced to eat vermin, toads and snakes, greed-mongers put in cauldrons of boiling oil and those guilty of lust smothered in fire and brimstone.) Most serial killers have decidedly more mundane motivations than Doe. And after all, this is only a movie.
"Sin ... engenders vice by repetition of the same acts, [clouding the conscience and corrupting the judgment.] Thus sin tends to reproduce ... and reinforce itself, but it cannot destroy the moral sense at its root." - Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grisly as ever but always intriguing, May 16 2004
John IV (Snohomish, WA United States) - See all my reviews
Sunday, May 16, 2004 / 4 of 5 / Grisly as ever but always intriguing. When I first saw Seven upon release I was at once struck by its utter grimness but intrigued by the plotline. It hasn't lost any of its power in the ensuing years, it is still one of the pinnacles of the thriller/crime/horror genre. The study in contrasts in this film are striking, Morgan Freeman as the retiring, intellectual, and beaten down detective paired with Brad Pitt, wise cracking, street smart and still possessing a naïve optimism. Watching the slow build up as they uncover the wretched crimes of Kevin Spacey, in a chilling performance as John Doe, is a study in not being able to look away from something horrible. Filmed almost entirely in dank, dark, raining atmosphere similar to 'The Ring' the oppression hangs in the air. Only as the film nears its still shocking conclusion do the clouds part, but rather than shining down on the washed away grime, it only serves to illuminate the final horror. Recommended.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Aspect Ratio a let down, May 18 2009
This review is from: Seven [Blu-ray] [Import] (Blu-ray)
I was excited to be able to purchase this fine film on blu-ray and viewed it right away when it arrived. I was upset to see that the origional aspect radio was no intact. As a true movie buff I want to see any movie in the correct aspect ratio how it was meant to be seen. The PQ is far superior to the old school two sided non-anamorphic ws dvd I have owned for years. I must say though that the adjusted aspect ratio is a most unwelcomed change. I will likley purchase a blu-ray copy of this film again when the correct aspect ratio becomes available.
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5.0 out of 5 stars More than a thriller . . ., April 20 2004
S B "sdb70" (Phoenix, Arizona United States) - See all my reviews
. . . and much more of a character study, 'Se7en' is the perfect vehicle for the arrival of director David Fincher and screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker. What makes this film great is director David Fincher's attention to detail, screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker's ability to turn the buddy/cop drama on it's head, and Oscar-calibre performances by Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, and especially Morgan Freeman.
Great script. As you probably already know, the serial killer (whose real name IS "John Doe"), causes the deaths of several individuals who are most obviously guilty of the mortal sins - gluttony (a morbidly obese man is forced to eat himself to death), greed (a slimy criminal lawyer is forced to remove "a pound a flesh"), sloth (a pedophile, drug dealer/addict is tied to his bed to waste away for a year before he is found), pride (a model who is so ugly on the inside that she decides to kill herself rather than be ugly on the outside), and lust (a married john is forced to "drill" a prostitute). More subtly, however, Walker creates a parallel between two seemingly opposite characters - Detective Sommerset (who is retiring out of a sense resignation toward the sick world we live in) and "John Doe" (who is committing the serial murders more as punctuation marks in a message to the world the only way he know to make it listen - with a "sledgehammer"). Narratively speaking, as Detective Sommerset is going out the revolving door, the young Detective Mills (Brad Pitt) is coming in. Although the angry, vengeful cop has been overplayed as the hero in countless numbers of genre films since 'Dirty Harry', Walker brilliantly shines a light on that character's own mortal sin - wrath - as being no more or less worth of attrition than the sins of the criminals that such cops usually vanquish in these films. Of course, John Doe (Kevin Spacey in a sparse, but no less effective, role) saves attrition for the final sin for himself - an individual who honestly envies the ignorant bliss of the common man. What is most refreshing about this script is that the "bad guy" runs the narrative - the cops never have control.
Great directing. Motivated by a disappointing directorial experience ('Alien 3'), Fincher pulls no punches to make 'Seven' noir to the extreme. Even the most casual viewer will note that until the end of the film, it is contiuously raining. In terms of overall effect, the attention to detail is, quite simply, outstanding.
Great acting. Morgan Freeman was so compelling as the philosophical, but jaded detective that he would create his own typcast ('Kiss the Girls', 'Along Came a Spider'). Brad Pitt may not have been stretching too much as the angry young man, but the final scene where the phases of anger and sadness watch over his face is one of the greatest moments he has ever put to film. Finally, you cannot say enough about Kevin Spacey, whose appearance in the last quarter of the film is a minimal one, but no less powerful than Anthony Hopkin's Hannibal Lecter.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Seven - An intense thriller from start to end!, March 28 2004
K. Wyatt "ssintrepid" (Cape Girardeau, MO United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Seven (DVD)
"Se7en" can clearly be counted among the tops in the murder/mystery thriller type movies of all time as it is an extremely intense film that frightens the soul and fills the entertainment need for such movies. Fair warning to the faint of heart as the graphics of this film are just as intense as the script itself. Much of this film is based on the script being as intense as it as the two primary characters are trying to figure out who the killer is before he/she makes it all the way through the seven deadly sins; what I find difficult to believe when watching the film though is that the screenwriter felt it was necessary to resort to excessive bouts of cursing as opposed to reasonably intelligent verbiage. I'm far from being a prude of any sort however, a thing can be taken too far and the language of this film was taken too far too often.
Performance wise, what else can be expected of Morgan Freeman other than another marvelous performance! There are very few films in which he's starred that one could say weren't good films and parts for him; he continues to be one of the top actors in the industry. Brad Pitt gives another great performance in this film despite his part being the one in which the screenwriter overindulged in a lack of intelligent writing. Kevin Spacey's actual screen time is very limited in this film but his performance is extremely powerful. Gwyneth Paltrow, such the beauty that she is, has a limited role in the film but leaves an impression nonetheless.
Director David Fincher who is probably best known for such films as the more recent "Fight Club" and "Panic Room" shows an exceptional stylistic flair in "Seven" that carries over to his other films. He certainly deserves a fair amount of credit for this films success over the years.
The Premise:
New York City's finest, Detective Lieutenant William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) finds himself mired in an investigation of a serial killer only one week from retirement. In comes his replacement, Detective David Mills (Brad Pitt) who is eager to take over the case all on his own however, their Captain played by the high spirited retired Marine Corps Staff Sergeant turned Hollywood actor, R. Lee Ermey, refuses to just hand the case over to Mills.
What follows from there is an extremely intense film in which the two detectives are desperately trying to find a killer who is forcing his victims to more or less kill themselves based on the seven deadly sins before he makes it all the way through them...
I highly recommend this film to any and all who are interested in this particular genre of filmmaking as it is, as stated above, an extremely intense thriller type film that will keep one guessing all the way to the extraordinarily frightening conclusion. {ssintrepid}
Special Features:
The one true incongruity of this particular original DVD release of the film is that it is a two sided disc that only contains about half the film on the first side. I don't know where New Line came up with their compression rate for this film and why but very few videophiles, myself included, are appreciative of having to flip a disc to continue the movie! Fortunately, this particular release is out of stock and there are newer version out there in which this technical error has been alleviated.
-Cast & Crew bios
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5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting and dark film., March 20 2004
Jim Warnke (West Palm Beach, FL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Seven [Import] (VHS Tape)
Seven is, arguably, the most gruesome movie I've ever seen. I only saw the Tv version, which cut out a lot of the gore, and I had the unfortunate luck to see the ending first. Yet still, I rate the movie as one of the best I've seen.
The movie has only four core cast members, consisting of Detective Somerset (Morgan Freeman) a veteran, retiring detective that is both a realist and a wiseman, Detective Mills (Brad Pitt), a young cop that is eager to solve the case, Mills' wife, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, and the serial killer, Kevin Spacey in a role that I can relate to and one that I can abhor.
As you already know, the serial killer, who is named as John Doe throughout the film, murders his victims gruesomely via the seven deadly sins (Sloth, Wrath, Envy, Greed, Gluttony, Lust, and Pride, not in that order.) It's both interesting and horrifying as to the way Doe murders his victims, and believe me, you won't guess at least two of them.
Director David Fincher manages a very bleak and despairing atmosphere, where he shows the true ugliness of humanity. Sex, obesity, all of them disgustingly illustrated and updated by the murders. No scene that I recall is without darkness, rain, or street garbage. Ironically, though, the climax, the most eye-opening scene of the movie, is shot in broad daylight, which itself is dulled by cinematography.
As said by the amazon review, the serial killer is in fact focusing on Mills and Somerset, especially Mills. It all becomes clear in the final scene, but to truly enjoy the film you must watch it with undivided attention and several buckets of popcorn.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Unambitious, under-acted, under-written and unintriguing, March 10 2004
Arty Fishal (Fitchburg, MA USA) - See all my reviews
First off, the good: This movie set a cinematographic standard for urban gothic-thrillers. The film presents its metropolis as a grity Daedalian labrynth in which around each dark corner some human vice is manifesting itself in macabre excess. It is grity, claustrophobic, and dark. Lights pulsate a sickly yellow, tight focus keeps the dark a mystery and the constant darkness implies a godless world were hedonistic lifestyles lead to extremes of degradation. Humanity is slitting its wrists. The movie's production design and cinematography are interesting, intimidating and perfect for the theme.
Now, the bad: That is all Se7en is! Se7en's best points are its darkness, its credits and the clever use of "7" in place of "v"! All other elements of the movie fall under "the bad"; The plot, the characters, the atempts at tenstion, the dialogue and the direction.
The Plot: A clearly extremely deranged man is going around killing people in graphic parodies of The Seven Deadly Sins. The end! That's it! The police investigation into his murders is superficial and reveals no methods the police might use to identify the killer. Furthermore the several instances where Morgan Freeman suggests exploring literary sources for
clues as to what the murderer's goals might be or who he will kill next never reveal any new information to the viewer, and they seem not to convey information to the characters either. The only "revelation"(excuse the Biblicality of this wording) made by the detectives is that the killer is killing in ways relating to the Seven Deadly Sins, and we can understand that from the title!
The plot of the police investigation merely serves as a frame story to reveal each gruesome set peice of the murders. Admit it to yourself, all the time when the cops were pointlesly delineating upon how to find the killer- you were begging to be shown the next murder. The enjoyment of this movie comes from the viewers inherint interst in thr perverse fetisism of torture. We want to skip over the cops and look more at the murders. They intrigue us, the story does not.
*spoiler* We end up routing for the murderer, in whose capture the movie even concedes the superflous nature of the plot, having him turn himself over.*spoiler ended*

Somewhat interesting is the identity of the actor who plays the killer, even though everyone knows who it is, I wont reveal it. It the concealment of his identity is a nice, campy throwback to gimmick movies(which this is essentially) and monster picks( like Frankenstein).
The characters: Morgan Freeman is the jaded veteran cop and Brad Pitt is the hotshot newby. The end! Interstingly enough not only are these the characters in EVERY other psychological thriller, but it is also the character Morgan Freeman plays in EVERY other psychological thriller. Their characterization is summed up in one seen where Brad Pitt decides to drink Beer and Morgan Freman decides to drink wine. Genius!
Tension: Fast forward to the last 3 minutes of the film and wait for your heartrate to raise about 1/10 past its normal rate. The end situation of the movie provides some tension, but no mystery as to what the outcome will be due to the two-dimensionality of the characters. One other scene which could be suspensful, a chase, is left predictable and uninspiring due to the almost cartoonish way in which it was shot.
Dialogue: Because the characters and plot are secondary to the gruesome props of the murders all dialogue is stunted and cliched.
Direction: Other than the depiciton of the murders the direction is loose and meandering. David Fincher knew as we did that the plot was just to provide a frame story to exhibit the murders in and thus guides as adequately enough, but in a very straight and unabitious way, though the poor dialogue and dismal atempts at characterization.

Conclusion: The film is enjoyable, yes. It is enjoyable in a voyeuristic way. We feel sick pleasure in such extreme representations of cruelty( this is the reason we all know what Chinese water torture is). The film is nothing else though, and does not push the genre in any way. The characters are two-dimensional and the plot paper thin. See it qith friends for fun, but expect nothing as interesting as The Silence of The Lambs. It is gruesome for the sake of showing us gruesomeness.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great premise but..., March 6 2004
Rocco Dormarunno (Brooklyn, NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Seven [Import] (VHS Tape)
When I first heard about this movie and its premise, back in '95, I nodded my head and figured it was a great idea. Then, some years later my father-in-law sent the vhs to my wife and me. SEVEN started out promising enough: the heavy atmosphere of a generic urban blight region, the deliberately paced filming, etc. You're set up for a terribly complex, suspenseful thriller. But it never fulfilled that promise. The movie strives for the psychological depth of SILENCE OF THE LAMBS or IN COLD BLOOD but never reaches it. I mean, the killer is using the Seven Deadly Sins as his model for the murders, so you think maybe he or she is a misguided religious nut? Duh. I dunno. Has it ever been done before?
And once you see who portrays the killer (although other reviewers have "given it away"), I think you'll kind of grimace and say, "Jeez, he was always playing the weird bad guy back in those days." And, to me, his performance is kind of a throw-away job. He almost seems to not want to be in the picture.
Freeman and Pitt give good performances, however, Although the chemistry between them seemed strained (unlike the wonderful Glover and Gibson pairing in the LETHAL WEAPON films), the combination is effective, overall. I enjoyed watching them. The cinematography was engaging enough, and the direction elicited a few good scares. I guess I was expecting a really good thriller mystery--at least I was supposed to, given all the hooplah, Instead, I got a fairly-decent though brutal film. See it before you decide to buy it, or before your father-in-law sends you a copy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Highly-Charged Thriller, March 1 2004
This review is from: Seven [Import] (VHS Tape)
Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman star in this diabolical tale about a serial killer who kills by the seven deadly sins. Freeman stars as detective William Somerset, a thirty-four year veteran of the homicide department who is only one week away from retirement. Pitt stars as detective David Mills, a brash young detective who will eventually become Somerset's replacement. As the killing spree begins, Mills and Somerset are forced to put their philosophical differences aside and try to find the killer before the body count becomes too high.
This is one of the most thrilling, yet complex, movies I've seen. Freeman and Pitt give excellent performances throughout the film, as do Gwyneth Paltrow as Mills' wife, and Kevin Spacey as the murderer, "John Doe". The complexity of the film made it difficult to follow at some points, though, and I found myself really having to concentrate to keep up with the plot twists.
I enjoyed the way the producers of the film developed the character of "John Doe". From the grisly murders to the portrayal of a media reported paid by the police themselves, Kevin Spacey brought this character to life in an attention-grabbing style. Freeman's no nonsense, straight ahead approach is the perfect counter to Pitt's somewhat charge ahead and sometimes carefree demeanor.
I really enjoyed this film. The plot was excellent and the actors are first-rate. The only qualm I have is how hard I had to concentrate to follow the flow of the movie, but overall, I would highly recommend this movie to suspense and action fans. It is definitely worth watching.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Se7en, Feb. 20 2004
David Fincher's suspenseful and gritty thriller grips you, leaving you speechless and pondering once the end credits have finished rolling, even while watching the supplements. With its dark and morbid atmosphere and the uncompromising down-beat ending it will leave you thinking about what just sped by you. Harsh and real, "Se7en" is a homicide thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat for its entire running length, and it will not fail to impress its disturbing mood upon you, sending shivers and chills down your spine.
Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman play as a pair of homicide detectives on a quest to solve a mysterious series of murders. Lt. Somerset (Freeman) is a burnt-out veteran cop on the brink of his retirement when he is teamed up with his replacement, an ambitious and fervent Brad Pitt as Detective David Mills. Two worlds collide as they struggle to accept each other even as a serial killer haunts the streets of this unnamed city, taking upon himself the burden of the Hand of God. He commits various creative punishments on people he feels exemplify the nature of the seven deadly sins. It takes all of the detectives' experience and effort to track the bloody trail of John Doe (Kevin Spacey), who in turn enjoys toying with the cops, planting clues as part of his deadly vision.
Fincher's world is dark, gray and foreboding through most of the movie and destroys any hope you might have for this urban civilization. Even the opening credits are murky, jerky, near-subliminally interspersed with disturbing crime-scene photos. Drenching rain is falling from depressingly cloudy gray skies for most of the movie, underscoring the unhealthy and fatalistic nature of this picture. "Se7en's" claustrophobic urban world rustles with cockroaches, and is filled with piles of rotten junk to the point that you can almost smell the putrid air. When the scenes begin to brighten and we finally move into broad daylight, it is only for the most gripping climax suspense cinema has seen in a long time, in a counterpoint revealing the abominable abyss of the dark and masochistic soul of the killer.
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