Se7en


2h 5m 1995

Brief Synopsis

A retiring police detective and his new partner investigate a serial killer whose crimes mirror the seven deadly sins.

Film Details

Also Known As
Seven
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Suspense/Mystery
Action
Crime
Drama
Thriller
Release Date
1995
Distribution Company
ALLIANCE RELEASING/NEW LINE CINEMA (NEW LINE)
Location
Los Angeles, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 5m

Synopsis

Lt. William Somerset, a burnt-out veteran cop, is on the brink of retirement. Forced to train his ambitious and eager replacement, Somerset is teamed with Detective David Mills on an investigation that draws these disparate cops deeper and deeper into the twisted world of a cunning and meticulous criminal. He is methodical, exacting and grotesquely creative. He is known as John Doe and he is the most vicious serial killer alive, fashioning murders based on the seven deadly sins. As each new victim is discovered, the detectives must combine their collective experiences to track the trail of a killer bent on seeking attrition for society's sins.

Crew

Michael Adler

Other

Peter Albiez

Special Effects Coordinator

John L Anderson

Assistant Production Coordinator

Lafaye Baker

Stunts

Nico Bally

Grip

Elinor Bardach

Costume Supervisor

Kerry Barden

Casting

Anthony Barlow

Art Department

Tom Barrett

Assistant Editor

Brent Beal

Camera Assistant

David Behle

Other

Bruce Bellamy

Swing Gang

Sandy Berumen

Stunts

Jean Black

Makeup Supervisor

Steve Boeddeker

Effects Assistant

Mike Bonnaud

Electrician

Rob Bottin

Special Makeup Effects

James Bowen

Swing Gang

Marsha L Bozeman

Costumes

Janet Brady

Stunts

Leonard Bram

Assistant Director

Michael W Brennan

Dolly Grip

Jack Bricker

Art Department

Bob F Brown

Stunts

Stephen Brown

Coproducer

Gary Burritt

Negative Cutting

Willie Burton

Sound Mixer

Paul Calabria

Animal Trainer

Dale Caldwell

Color Timer

Sean Callery

Effects Assistant

Rick Canelli

Adr

Danny Cangemi

Special Effects Supervisor

Yin Cantor

Sound

Phyllis Carlyle

Producer

Joan Chapman

Adr Editor

Michael Chavez

Camera Operator

Kim B Christensen

Sound Effects Editor

Barry Chusid

Assistant Art Director

Kim Coleman

Casting Associate

Aisha Coley

Casting Associate

Michael Coo

Key Grip

Daniel Cook

Grip

Kyle Cooper

Main Title Design

Wendy Cox

Production Coordinator

Ian Crockett

Post-Production Assistant

Jeffrey Croeber

Effects Assistant

Jeff Croneweth

Camera Operator

Whitney Crumb

Special Effects

Mike Cunningham

Props Assistant

Peter Davidian

Other

Brad Davis

Accountant

Frank Davis

Assistant Director

Howard Davis

Assistant Editor

Sandy De Crescent

Music Contractor

Eva Marie Denst

Art Department

William B Doane

Special Effects

Daren R. Dochterman

Visual Effects

Francesca Dodd

Dialogue Editor

Patrick Dodd

Sound Editor

Patrick Dodd

Adr Supervisor

Bert Doyo

Original Music

Eric Dresser

Special Effects

Richard Duarte

Foley Mixer

Mitch Dubin

Camera Operator

Brad Edmiston

Assistant Camera Operator

Hedi El Kholti

Accounting Assistant

David Emmerichs

Steadicam Operator

Avy Eschenasy

Production

James Feldman

Art Department

Sarah Felpes

Apprentice

Malcolm Fife

Foley Editor

Malcolm Fife

Foley

William E Fitch

Dolly Grip

Thom Floutz

Other

Carol Folgate

Assistant Editor

George Fortmuller

Assistant Director

Richard Francis-bruce

Editor

Chris Franco

Electrician

Simon Franglen

Music

Peter Frankfurt

Visual Effects

Kenneth Frith

Set Production Assistant

Linda Frobos

Art Department

Gerald J Gates

Other

William C. Gerrity

Line Producer

Tom Gibson

Dolly Grip

Emily Glatter

Production Coordinator

Cori Glazer

Script Supervisor

Adam Glick

Electrician

Shawn Goldstein

Other

Joseph A Graham

Grip

Mark Graziano

Post-Production Coordinator

Nana Greenwald

Coproducer

Clay A. Griffith

Set Decorator

Robert J Grindrod

Production Accountant

Fred Grossman

Accountant

Anette Haellmigk

Photography

Conrad W. Hall

Camera Operator

Chris Halstead

Apprentice

Michael Hancock

Makeup Artist

Paul Hargrave

Location Manager

Sean Hargreaves

Visual Effects

Lynn Harris

Co-Executive Producer

Robert Wayne Harris

Sound

Scott Harris

Assistant Director

Rick Hart

Sound Re-Recording Mixer

Motoyoshi Hata

Art Department

Janice Hayen

Music

Kane Hodder

Stunts

Billy Hopkins

Casting

Nancy Jencks

Effects Assistant

Nicholas C John

Other

Joseph Johnston

Location Assistant

Michael Alan Kahn

Assistant Director

Al Kaminsky

Transportation Coordinator

Michael Kaplan

Costume Designer

Mark S. Kaufman

Music Coordinator

Ric Keeley

Post-Production Supervisor

Jack Keller

Other

Darius Khondji

Director Of Photography

Greg Kimble

Visual Effects Supervisor

Henry Kingi

Stunts

Ren Klyce

Sound Effects Editor

Ren Klyce

Sound Designer

Ren Klyce

Music

Ren Klyce

Sound Effects

Dan Kolsrud

Executive Producer

Anne Kopelson

Executive Producer

Arnold Kopelson

Producer

Erik Kraber

Sound Editor

Buz Kramer

Craft Service

Laura P Krasnow

Assistant Editor

John Kurlander

Music

Elizabeth Lapp

Set Designer

Thomas Lay

Visual Effects

Bill Leslie

Grip

Mark Levinson

Adr Editor

Marvin E. Lewis

Boom Operator

John Lissauer

Original Music

Robert J Litt

Sound Re-Recording Mixer

Tom Loewy

Video

Yvon Lucas

Consultant

Robert Charles Lusted

Assistant Editor

Ed Maloney

Gaffer

Flint Maloney

Location Manager

Flint Maloney

Assistant Location Manager

Johnny M Martin

Stunts

J. Steven Matzinger

Assistant Camera Operator

Arthur Max

Production Designer

John H. Maxwell

On-Set Dresser

Melodie Mcdaniel

Photography

Robin Mcdonald

Art Department

Russell Mcentyre

Transportation Coordinator

John Mcgraham

Grip

William Travis Mckane

Electrician

Dennis Mclean

Grip

Jennifer Mcnamara

Casting Associate

Ed Medin

Electrician

Robert S Mendelsohn

Unit Production Manager

Mark J. Meyers

Dolly Grip

Claudio Miranda

Gaffer

Lindsay Mofford

Assistant Editor

Jeremy Molad

Foley Mixer

Marnie Moore

Foley Artist

Roy Moore

Property Master

Don Morgan

Camera

Leo Mouneu

Set Decorator

Dale Myrand

Steadicam Operator

Gianni Nunnari

Executive Producer

John Nutt

Dialogue Editor

Jan O'connell

Art Department Coordinator

Thomas J. O'connell

Adr Mixer

Margie O'malley

Foley Artist

Becky Ochoa

Hairdresser

Nilo Otero

Assistant Director

Chris Pascuzzo

Swing Gang

Daniel Ray Pemberton

Construction Coordinator

Ryan K Peterson

Art Department

Anthony D Petrilla

Grip

Robert A Phillips

Special Effects

Chuck Picerni Jr.

Stunt Coordinator

Chuck Picerni Jr.

Stunts

Steve Picerni

Stunts

Quentin A. Pierre

Assistant

Craig Pinckes

Assistant Director

Michele Platt

Associate Producer

J Michael Popovich

Key Grip

Lambert Powell

Special Effects

Margaret Prentice

Makeup Artist

Paul Prince

Assistant Camera Operator

Paul Prokop

Production Associate

Steven T Puri

Visual Effects

Ernest Quintero

Set Decorator

Rich Ratliff

Special Effects

David Reale

Assistant Editor

Jacques Rey

Storyboard Artist

Robert M Rey

Medic

Vincent Reynaud

Art Director

John Richards

Music

Lucas Richman

Music Conductor

David Rodriguez

Set Decorator

Film Details

Also Known As
Seven
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Suspense/Mystery
Action
Crime
Drama
Thriller
Release Date
1995
Distribution Company
ALLIANCE RELEASING/NEW LINE CINEMA (NEW LINE)
Location
Los Angeles, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 5m

Articles

Se7en


The city is an unidentified, vaguely drawn cesspool of an urban metropolis that is perpetually gray and wet. The crime is a serial killing spree that, upon investigation, proves to be so meticulously planned and executed that the term "spree" no longer applies. The title, Seven (1995, also spelled Se7en), refers to the seven deadly sins that inspire and define the murders. And the killer, who appropriates the name John Doe, treats his sadistic assault on society's "guilty" sinners like a calling, a modern campaign from a man reviving the work of an Old Testament God passing judgment in a soiled, corrupt world in need of a cleansing. Or at least a good kick to its complacency.

Written by Andrew Kevin Walker and directed by music video and commercial veteran David Fincher, Seven is a meticulously crafted film about the most meticulous serial killer since Hannibal Lecter, an insane genius who draws his inspiration from the classics: Dante, Milton, Chaucer, and in one scene, Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. In addition to the deadly sins – gluttony, greed, sloth, greed, etc. – the title plays on the seven-day countdown of veteran Detective Lieutenant William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) before his retirement. Somerset is smart, classically educated, and observant, a once passionate policeman who has been worn down by the horrors he's witnessed on the job. You can see the toll it has taken in his eyes and his deliberate movements in the opening scenes, as he carefully dresses for work. Always so thoughtful and poised and careful, Somerset has one quirk: he carries a switchblade. Morgan Freeman makes even his handling of the knife precise and elegant.

Brad Pitt is the hungry, ambitious detective David Mills, who has transferred from his upstate beat and brought his young wife (Gwyneth Paltrow) with him. For a hot-shot young detective, he's oblivious to just how miserable she is in this dreary, oppressive city where the rain never stops and the urban cacophony never ends. The detective partnership, a burned-out veteran who reluctantly adopts and mentors the impulsive young neophyte who isn't half as seasoned as he believes he is, is a trope to be sure, but an effective one that pays off in the climax in ways that audiences in 1995 never saw coming.

Walker, who wrote the original screenplay while working at Tower Records, pushes the script into unexpected twists. If the appropriation of Armageddon literature and tool-of-God megalomania is more clever gimmick than thematic backbone, it makes for an insidiously effective hook for a modern murder mystery. To help maintain the sense of ambiguity, Fincher kept the identity of the actor playing the killer out of the opening credits. The ploy was not to surprise the audience with some shocking revelation, but merely to keep the audience as off-balance as the characters.

"I don't understand this place anymore," explains Somerset when asked why he's quitting the force. The diseased campaign of John Doe, executing sinners in excruciating ways while the world barely notices what's going on around them, only proves his point. But Fincher is careful to never let us see the murders, only the crime scenes, and even the victims are discreetly (if grotesquely) shown. He suggests the gruesome dimensions of the torturous murders with isolated details and morbid flourishes and lets the imagination of the viewers take it from there. When we're told that one victim, a veritable living corpse who looks more mummy than man, had "chewed off his own tongue long ago," there is no need for further visualization.

The sensibility is established in the creepy, unsettling opening credits by Kyle Cooper. Set to the harsh and distorted strains of Trent Reznor's music, the scratched and slashed-up shots of weird photos and pages of text being marked up and blacked out (ostensibly the research activities of our serial killer) jitter and stutter and seem to tear at themselves as they unfold on the screen. In Fincher's own words, it was his attempt to "pictorially represent aberrant thinking," and the effect, even after years of copycat credits borrowing the sensibility and the techniques, is discomforting and unnerving. Fincher returns to those images and scribblings when the detectives stumble upon John Doe's apartment and find room after room of plans and photos and a veritable library of notebooks filled with scores of notes crammed with tiny, neat writing. Fincher and his collaborators borrowed such details as these from the personal effects left behind by some of the more notorious real life serial killers.

The real star of Seven, however, is the gloom and doom of the setting: an unidentified blight of a modern city. Shot in Los Angeles on locations chosen by their resemblance to New York, manipulated to look perpetually gray and overcast, pelted with constant rain and drizzle, and accompanied by the unending urban ambience of industrial noise and never-ending traffic, it's a step away from the unending night of Blade Runner (1982). In the words of production designer Arthur Max, Fincher "wanted a sense of collapse and decay, things weren't working and society was breaking down, so visually the idea was to texture the world with a corrosion that reflected the moral decay around them." The effort to create that atmosphere bled over into the real world, according to Morgan Freeman: "The set was dark and unhealthy," he remarked in an interview. "The director, David Fincher, and others developed a chronic cough because of the water and mineral oil that was blown into the air to create the murky atmosphere."

Much of the film is set in run-down apartments in seedy slums, gloomy places with more clutter than light. They look as if they were lit with ten watt bulbs, with the cold blast of hazy winter light through the grimy windows making it seem all the more dark. The characters live in a perpetual twilight, the visual reflection of the moral world in which Mills seems to think he can make a difference. Somerset has long since given up on that fantasy. By the end of Seven he's handed one more reason to retire.

Producers: Phyllis Carlyle and Arnold Kopelson
Director: David Fincher
Screenplay: Andrew Kevin Walker
Cinematography: Darius Khondji
Art Direction: Gary Wissner
Music: Howard Shore
Film Editing: Richard Francis-Bruce
Cast: Brad Pitt (Detective David Mills), Morgan Freeman (Detective. Lt. William Somerset), Gwyneth Paltrow (Tracy Mills), R. Lee Ermey (Police Captain), Richard Roundtree (District Attorney Martin Talbot), Kevin Spacey (John Doe).
C-127m. Letterboxed.

by Sean Axmaker
Se7En

Se7en

The city is an unidentified, vaguely drawn cesspool of an urban metropolis that is perpetually gray and wet. The crime is a serial killing spree that, upon investigation, proves to be so meticulously planned and executed that the term "spree" no longer applies. The title, Seven (1995, also spelled Se7en), refers to the seven deadly sins that inspire and define the murders. And the killer, who appropriates the name John Doe, treats his sadistic assault on society's "guilty" sinners like a calling, a modern campaign from a man reviving the work of an Old Testament God passing judgment in a soiled, corrupt world in need of a cleansing. Or at least a good kick to its complacency. Written by Andrew Kevin Walker and directed by music video and commercial veteran David Fincher, Seven is a meticulously crafted film about the most meticulous serial killer since Hannibal Lecter, an insane genius who draws his inspiration from the classics: Dante, Milton, Chaucer, and in one scene, Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. In addition to the deadly sins – gluttony, greed, sloth, greed, etc. – the title plays on the seven-day countdown of veteran Detective Lieutenant William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) before his retirement. Somerset is smart, classically educated, and observant, a once passionate policeman who has been worn down by the horrors he's witnessed on the job. You can see the toll it has taken in his eyes and his deliberate movements in the opening scenes, as he carefully dresses for work. Always so thoughtful and poised and careful, Somerset has one quirk: he carries a switchblade. Morgan Freeman makes even his handling of the knife precise and elegant. Brad Pitt is the hungry, ambitious detective David Mills, who has transferred from his upstate beat and brought his young wife (Gwyneth Paltrow) with him. For a hot-shot young detective, he's oblivious to just how miserable she is in this dreary, oppressive city where the rain never stops and the urban cacophony never ends. The detective partnership, a burned-out veteran who reluctantly adopts and mentors the impulsive young neophyte who isn't half as seasoned as he believes he is, is a trope to be sure, but an effective one that pays off in the climax in ways that audiences in 1995 never saw coming. Walker, who wrote the original screenplay while working at Tower Records, pushes the script into unexpected twists. If the appropriation of Armageddon literature and tool-of-God megalomania is more clever gimmick than thematic backbone, it makes for an insidiously effective hook for a modern murder mystery. To help maintain the sense of ambiguity, Fincher kept the identity of the actor playing the killer out of the opening credits. The ploy was not to surprise the audience with some shocking revelation, but merely to keep the audience as off-balance as the characters. "I don't understand this place anymore," explains Somerset when asked why he's quitting the force. The diseased campaign of John Doe, executing sinners in excruciating ways while the world barely notices what's going on around them, only proves his point. But Fincher is careful to never let us see the murders, only the crime scenes, and even the victims are discreetly (if grotesquely) shown. He suggests the gruesome dimensions of the torturous murders with isolated details and morbid flourishes and lets the imagination of the viewers take it from there. When we're told that one victim, a veritable living corpse who looks more mummy than man, had "chewed off his own tongue long ago," there is no need for further visualization. The sensibility is established in the creepy, unsettling opening credits by Kyle Cooper. Set to the harsh and distorted strains of Trent Reznor's music, the scratched and slashed-up shots of weird photos and pages of text being marked up and blacked out (ostensibly the research activities of our serial killer) jitter and stutter and seem to tear at themselves as they unfold on the screen. In Fincher's own words, it was his attempt to "pictorially represent aberrant thinking," and the effect, even after years of copycat credits borrowing the sensibility and the techniques, is discomforting and unnerving. Fincher returns to those images and scribblings when the detectives stumble upon John Doe's apartment and find room after room of plans and photos and a veritable library of notebooks filled with scores of notes crammed with tiny, neat writing. Fincher and his collaborators borrowed such details as these from the personal effects left behind by some of the more notorious real life serial killers. The real star of Seven, however, is the gloom and doom of the setting: an unidentified blight of a modern city. Shot in Los Angeles on locations chosen by their resemblance to New York, manipulated to look perpetually gray and overcast, pelted with constant rain and drizzle, and accompanied by the unending urban ambience of industrial noise and never-ending traffic, it's a step away from the unending night of Blade Runner (1982). In the words of production designer Arthur Max, Fincher "wanted a sense of collapse and decay, things weren't working and society was breaking down, so visually the idea was to texture the world with a corrosion that reflected the moral decay around them." The effort to create that atmosphere bled over into the real world, according to Morgan Freeman: "The set was dark and unhealthy," he remarked in an interview. "The director, David Fincher, and others developed a chronic cough because of the water and mineral oil that was blown into the air to create the murky atmosphere." Much of the film is set in run-down apartments in seedy slums, gloomy places with more clutter than light. They look as if they were lit with ten watt bulbs, with the cold blast of hazy winter light through the grimy windows making it seem all the more dark. The characters live in a perpetual twilight, the visual reflection of the moral world in which Mills seems to think he can make a difference. Somerset has long since given up on that fantasy. By the end of Seven he's handed one more reason to retire. Producers: Phyllis Carlyle and Arnold Kopelson Director: David Fincher Screenplay: Andrew Kevin Walker Cinematography: Darius Khondji Art Direction: Gary Wissner Music: Howard Shore Film Editing: Richard Francis-Bruce Cast: Brad Pitt (Detective David Mills), Morgan Freeman (Detective. Lt. William Somerset), Gwyneth Paltrow (Tracy Mills), R. Lee Ermey (Police Captain), Richard Roundtree (District Attorney Martin Talbot), Kevin Spacey (John Doe). C-127m. Letterboxed. by Sean Axmaker

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Kevin Spacey was a co-winner, along with Ed Harris, of the Broadcast Film Critics Association's 1995 award for Best Supporting Actor. Spacey was cited for his performances in "Swimming With Sharks" (USA/1994), "Outbreak" (USA/1995), "The Usual Suspects" (USA/1995) and "Seven" (USA/1995).

Kevin Spacey won the National Board of Review's 1995 award for Best Supporting Actor for his performances in "Seven" (USA/1995) and "The Usual Suspects" (USA/1995).

Kevin Spacey won the New York Film Critics Circle's 1995 award for Best Supporting Actor for his performances in "Seven" (USA/1995), "The Usual Suspects" (USA/1995), "Outbreak" (USA/1995) and "Swimming with Sharks" (USA/1994).

Winner of the 1995 award for Best Cinematography from the Chicago Film Critics Association.

Released in United States Fall September 22, 1995

Re-released in United States December 25, 1995

Re-released in United States December 29, 1995

Released in United States on Video March 26, 1996

Released in United States September 1997

Shown at Deauville Film Festival (Freeman Tribute) September 5-14, 1997.

Second feature for acclaimed music video director David Fincher who marked his feature directorial debut with "Alien3" (USA/1992).

Completed shooting March 10, 1995.

Began shooting December 12, 1994.

Released in United States Fall September 22, 1995

Re-released in United States December 25, 1995 (Los Angeles)

Re-released in United States December 29, 1995 (New York City)

Released in United States on Video March 26, 1996

Released in United States September 1997 (Shown at Deauville Film Festival (Freeman Tribute) September 5-14, 1997.)

Darius Khondji was nominated in the feature film category of the Outstanding Achievement Awards (1995) sponsored by the American Society of Cinematographers.