Or as it’s spelt some places, Se7en is Fincher’s second film, and in his debut, as Anders put it, he didn’t really enjoy making it, but what was evident in Alien 3 was that Fincher knew exactly what he was doing. And Seven is showing what he can do in strides.
It appears that due to his experience with Alien 3, David Fincher wants more control of his next film. The ending is known for being so utterly bleak and twisted, and it was fought over to stay. Frequent collaborator Brad Pitt threatened to walk off the film if it changed. In one of the few times on the big screen, the villain won.
Seven is a film where David Mills (Brad Pitt) moves to an unnamed city and joins the police force and is partnered with William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) who has one case left before retiring. The case is supposed to simple and quick, but as is expected, it never is. The trope has been done to death by 1995 when this film came out, but it wasn’t done like this.
Both detectives find themselves dealing with a serial killer, who they refer to as John Doe as they never find out his identity. Doe starts a murder spree, one in mind with a purpose. The murders he commits correlate to the seven deadly sins.
Though now it’s public knowledge, when the film was released Kevin Spacey’s name was being kept out of all marketing. His presence in the film was a total shock, and in true Spacey fashion from 1995, he brings one hell of a twist with him. (The Usual Suspects was also released in 1995).
As the sins are being crossed off the list, each being more gruesome or twisted than the last, we are left with two. Soon after, John Doe turns himself in which starts to bring questions as to why, and there’s a hopeful feeling in the air that Mills and Somerset may finally have his man in custody. But, this is Fincher we are talking about, and hope is for the weak.
In the film’s iconic final moments, the film leaves you feeling disgusted because even though John Doe is killed, Doe has won. Mills is a nobody to Doe except the unfortunate officer assigned to his case. The fact that the first scene with Mills has Brad Pitt excitedly waiting in the pouring rain with coffee for his first day of work, while his last scene is where everything is taken away from him. And this mimics not only Somerset’s outlook on life and debatably Fincher’s as well. It’s common to be hopeful and believe the best in the world, but as we’ve seen ourselves in reality and within the film, sometimes hope is for the weak.