Se7en (1995)

 ●  English ● 2 hrs 7 mins

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Dark and disturbing, this investigative thriller delves into the life of two homicide detectives, as they desperately hunt for a serial killer who justifies his crimes as absolution for the world's ignorance of the Seven Deadly Sins. This horrifying tale takes us from the tortured remains of one victim to the next as the sociopath, labelled "John Doe" sermonizes to Detectives Sommerset and Mills -- one sin at a time. The sin of Gluttony comes first and the murderer's terrible capacity is graphically demonstrated in the dark and subdued tones characteristic of film noir. The seasoned and cultured but jaded Sommerset researches the Seven Deadly Sins in an effort to understand the killer's modus operandi while the bright but green and impulsive Detective Mills scoffs at his efforts to get inside the mind of a killer. How will the investigation unfold? Will the team of detectives successfully identify and capture the psychopath? How will their personal lives be impacted by the investigation and its fallout?
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Morgan Freeman

Crew: David Fincher (Director), Darius Khondji (Director of Photography), Howard Shore (Music Director)

Genres: Crime, Mystery, Thriller

Release Dates: 22 Sep 1995 (India)

Tagline: Long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light.

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Did you know? New Line executives originally balked at the film's ending, but Brad Pitt refused to make the film if the ending were changed. Read More
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Film Type:
Feature Film
Colour Info:
Sound Mix:
Dolby Digital, DTS
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
Long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light.
Seven deadly sins. Seven ways to die.
Let he who is without sin try to survive
Audio/Video Mismatch
When Det. Somerset knocks on the door of the suspect, the sound of the knocking doesn't match the movements of his hand.

Character Error
Somerset states in the film that there are "7 cardinal virtues, and 7 deadly sins". It is generally more accepted, and stated by Saint Thomas Aquinas, that there are only 4 cardinal virtues, the other 3 virtues being theological.

Character Error
At about the end of the library scene, when Somerset is folding up Dante Alighieri's inferno printout, a mistake in the roman numerals can be seen. The lustful, following V. The greedy, should be listed as the 6th (VI) and the gluttonous as the 7th (VII) on the list. However, they're listed as the 7th (VII) and as the 6th (VI) respectively.

Mills gets out of a bed with only a quilted mattress cover. He puts on his shirt and tie and walks back to the bed which now has a sheet on it.

The phone on Detective Mills' desk changes several times when he enters his new office.

When Somerset is in the taxi on the way to the library, he is wearing a striped shirt under his overcoat. When he gets to the library and is chatting with the security guards he is wearing just a solid white shirt.

On the drive back from the Gluttony victim, the car has two different kinds of windshield wiper: one that goes side to side, and one that goes up and down.

The layout of John Doe's apartment conflicts with the hallway of the building. In the outside hallway, there is a window looking onto the building next door. Inside the apartment, there are rooms where the window would be.

The level of the wine glasses when Somerset is over for dinner changes. When the camera is on the Mills, Mrs. Mills glass is higher than Somerset's glass. When the camera is on Somerset, the levels are both lower and equal.

When Somerset is in the greed victim's office dusting the wall for prints behind the painting, he does so with his left hand. However, the close-up shot of the hand doing the dusting is clearly a right hand.

When Dective Mills shoots John after the first shot the slide locks back indicating the gun is empty, then he begins shooting again but doesn't reload or cycle the slide.

Crew/Equipment Visible
At the end of the scene where both witnesses of the "Lust" crime scene are interrogated, there is a slow track from one interrogation room to the other. In the tracking shot, you can see the camera dolly reflection at the bottom of the two-way mirror.

Factual Mistake
When Somerset returns to the Gluttony crime scene, he uses his pocket-knife to cut the police tape which is securing the door. This tape is on the inside of the door, which is pointless (as it is supposed to be seen by people, to warn them away from the crime scene) and impossible, unless the police taped up the door and then climbed out of the windows.

Factual Mistake
When Somerset is in the library making copies, a plan of Dante Alighieri's Purgatory comes out of the copy machine, but the label at the bottom of the page identifies it as Dante's Inferno.

Revealing Mistakes
When the police are inspecting the body of the "lust" victim, you can see her blinking at the beginning of the scene.

Revealing Mistakes
As Mills and Somerset leave the Captain's office after submitting the report on their first job together, Somerset walks across the screen to leave the room. In the bottom-left side of the screen, the red marker tape he is standing on is clearly visible in the shot.

Revealing Mistakes
Freeze-framing the film on the legible portions of John Doe's hand-written journal (while Somerset is turning pages) reveals one page identical to the preceding one.

Revealing Mistakes
When Detective David Mills is chasing the suspected murderer (who is now on the roof top in between buildings), he fires shots at the Detective in the building. Nearby pigeons can be seen only a few feet away and do not fly off when the shots are fired.

Revealing Mistakes
The dead gluttony victim can be seen breathing.

Revealing Mistakes
While it is raining on the car, the people on the street are not using umbrellas or other devices to shield themselves from rain.
All of John Doe's books were real books, written for the film. They took two months to complete and cost $15,000. According to Somerset, two months is also the time it would take the police to read all the books.

As preparation for his traumatic scene in the interrogation room, Leland Orser would breathe in and out very rapidly so that his body would be overly saturated with oxygen, giving him the ability to hyperventilate. He also did not sleep for a few days to achieve his character's disoriented look.

While filming the scene where Mills chases John Doe in the rain, Brad Pitt fell and his arm went through a car windscreen, requiring surgery. This accident was worked into the script of the film. Ironically, the original script did call for Pitt's Det. Mills character to be injured during this sequence--but to something other than his hand.

Denzel Washington turned down the part that went to Brad Pitt, telling Entertainment Weekly that the film was too "dark and evil." Washington later regretted his decision upon seeing a screening.

New Line executives originally balked at the film's ending, but Brad Pitt refused to make the film if the ending were changed.

All the building numbers in the opening scene start with 7. The climactic delivery was scheduled for 7pm.

Gwyneth Paltrow was David Fincher's first choice for the part of Brad Pitt's wife, having impressed him with her work in Flesh and Bone (1993). Paltrow was initially not interested, so Fincher had to ask her then boyfriend - Brad Pitt - to get her to come in and meet with him.

There's a line in which Mills names motives that killers give; one of them is 'Jodie Foster told me to do it.' He is referring to John Hinckley Jr., a man that was obsessed with Jodie Foster and attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan to impress her. The other that Mills says is "My dog told me to do it.", a reference to David Berkowitz, AKA, the "Son of Sam", a serial killer who terrorized the New York City area in the summers of 1976 and 1977 and claimed that his neighbor's dog was possessed and told him to commit murder.

Originally, Morgan Freeman drew his pistol with his finger on the trigger. Police officers that were on the set as technical advisors quickly corrected him, as that is not correct police procedure.

This was voted the eighth scariest film of all time by Entertainment Weekly.

During pre-production, Al Pacino was considered for the Somerset role, but he decided to do City Hall (1996).

When looking for the part of Victor, David Fincher stated that he wanted to find someone who was incredibly skinny, around 90 lbs. Michael Reid MacKay auditioned, and at the time weighed 96 lbs. Fincher gave him the part and jokingly told him to lose some more weight. Much to his surprise, MacKay turned up to filming having lost another 6 lbs.

Brad Pitt earned $7 million for this film.

The word "fuck" and its derivatives are said a discernible 74 times throughout the movie, mostly by Brad Pitt.

The "Platinum Series" DVD of Se7en by New Line is mastered from a new HDTV transfer which was made directly from the camera negative. This required that the whole film had to be re-graded digitally, applying color and contrast correction to every shot under the director's supervision. The resulting HDTV master is now the official master of the film. The digital corrections are quite extensive in some shots as the DVD supplements demonstrate in detail.

Andrew Kevin Walker had enormous difficulty getting a studio to buy the rights to his script because he was a complete unknown in Hollywood. Allegedly, he put together a list of agents that represented writers that work in the crime and thriller genres, and just called each one up until he got a positive response.

The box full of photographs at the "Sloth" scene has written on the side "To the World, from Me."

This was regarded as the first "A" production for New Line Cinema, proving that they could attract "A-list" directors and cast.

The original script had a strange, dwarf-like woman as part of the forensics team, appearing in every one of the "cleanups" after a murder and hurling foul language and epithets at Somerset and Mills.

David Cronenberg was offered a chance to direct this but he turned it down.

The film was the subject of a lawsuit brought by a photographer whose work was used in the background of John Doe's apartment. The case was decided in the filmmakers' favor. Sandoval v. New Line Cinema Corp., 973 F.Supp. 409, 412-414 (S.D.N.Y 1997).