Seven (or Se7en) is a movie that is extremely difficult to talk about. The entire movie begins with little characterization, background history, or even a developed story line. Yet, as the movie continues, the viewer suddenly finds it all coming together for an excellent depiction of the stupidity of life.
The movie has two main characters: Morgan Freeman, an experienced detective who is gloomy and “depressed” about reality, and Brad Pitt, who is a pompous new detective who thinks he can crack every case and yell at any superior he wants to. The story kicks into full gear with a murder of a man who must weigh at least 700 pounds, with the word “gluttony” written on the wall in blood. The movie cannot be defined as a detective genre, however; there is very little investigation into this particular movie. Rather, the story continues with a few more murders of the different deadly sins (such as gluttony) and focuses on the various character’s dialogue with each other.
Brad Pitt is overly emotional, has what Ender would call “hot anger”, and doesn’t listen to anyone. This comes to bite him in the back in so many different ways, highlighting the problem of excessive passion. Meanwhile Morgan Freeman appears so dispassionate that he really has no friends, despite having the largest concern for humanity through a rational outlook. This personal emotion vs. rational compassion juxtaposition is one of many fascinating themes.
The use of camera angles and music was equally incredible. The cinematography is absolutely excellent and adds to the incredible drama of the movie. There was a great contrast between lighter scenes and darker scenes, each time with some sort of meaning or the other. The setting was simple and only showed a few houses and locations, which added to the the theme of constant routine: waking up each day at the same time to the same world for the same purpose…living for the next day.
The central premise of the movie, however, is the stupidity of life. In the movie, seven murders are committed, all under the coordination of a single murderer. Each murder is for one of the deadly sins – gluttony, sloth, envy, etc. – and arguably each person deserved it. At the same time, almost all of the police force and general public is apathetic to the deaths, besides a superficial curiosity in what happened. People are horribly lame in the movie – and Morgan Freeman is delighted to tell us. Shockingly, the murderer is equally delighted to tell us. The murderer is extremely rational, well thought, well read, educated, the whole nine yards. He calculated his murders and has developed arguments to justify each one, while expressing little personal emotion but rational compassion for humanity. And as the movie shows, Brad Pitt, being so personally emotional leads to downfall. Rational compassion leads to victory.
Overall, the movie is a fantastic thriller and horribly depressing. It poses questions and demonstrates scenarios, but does not provide answers. If you expect to watch a movie that will make you a more wise person, this is the one. If you expect to watch a movie to enjoy it, I do not recommend. This movie mixes fear, depression, and gloominess altogether for a masterful insight into human sociology when it comes to morality.