When retiring police Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) tackles a final case with the aid of newly transferred David Mills (Brad Pitt), they discover a number of elaborate and grizzly murders. They soon realize they are dealing with a serial killer (Kevin Spacey) who is targeting people he thinks represent one of the seven deadly sins. Somerset also befriends Mills' wife, Tracy (Gwyneth Paltrow), who is pregnant and afraid to raise her child in the crime-riddled city.
This film is unreal. It’s chilling, creepy, and written fabulously. I absolutely love the way it's constructed with the whole thing around the seven deadly sins being the backdrop for each murder. I think the way it’s done is really clever. I love how you can see how much thought went into the writing of the plot. But it’s so original! It’s horrible but bloody brilliant!
I love the title sequence in this film. I just think it’s really cool. Sort of creepy. I found this a lot easier to get into than other similar themed films. It’s quite graphic but without always being too graphic…if that makes sense! The writing feeds you the details without showing them to you directly. It’s all about the power of suggestion. Your imagination can go so much further. That’s not to say there weren’t some disgusting moments thrown in there. The Sloth Victim was pretty awful. I got such a fright during that scene the first time I watched it, it was terrible!!
Morgan Freeman is so easy to watch and is a really, really great actor. It's his expressions and demeanour in this film; I think the moments when he doesn't have dialogue show how skillful an actor he is more than having the dialogue. Brad Pitt was never an actor I was particularly inclined to watch but I have to say he was good enough in this. His character got a little annoying and there are moments I wish he'd just 'ssshhh'...but what can you do? I love that there’s a bit of humour thrown into the mix as well. It’s not all serious-murder-mystery. There’s a scene when Somerset is asked to dinner with Mills and his wife. During their conversation they all just break into laughter. It’s quite funny. I think it's Morgan Freeman's expression that's just priceless. Also, throughout the film Mills and Somerset don’t always see eye to eye so their occasional quips at one another can be quite funny too.
But it’s Kevin Spacey who, despite only being in the film for like 2 or 3 scenes at most, completely steals the show. He is just unreal. His character, John Doe, kind of reminds me of Hannibal Lector in ‘The Silence of The Lambs’ but creepier and more intense…if that’s possible!! Both are quiet, calm and insanely intelligent, but underneath complete psychos. The scene when he surrenders is a perfect example of this demeanour. I love how he comes in quietly then suddenly screams to get their attention. It's kind of funny actually but it's also so creepy when you know all that he's done before walking in to them. I wonder if this scenes says more about the character than you think though. This person may have been ignored repeatedly his whole life, which could be mirrored in this scene as he walks into the room, covered in blood, yet is paid no attention until he screams. Now he has something to say and so he does it in a way he can't be ignored and people will listen. If he has experienced isolation like this he would have been simply observing people from afar and this would be how he came to his seven deadly sins conclusion, leading to his killing spree. I'm not excusing his behaviour but these are just my musings on the matter! He has an brilliant monologue towards the end of the film about the seven sins and how people are constantly committing them but the act is always overlooked. “It’s trivial” he says. When you’re listening to him you can’t deny the man might have a slight point…even if his means of rectifying the situation are horrifyingly backwards.
I've always felt Gwenyth Paltrow's character to be a bit out of place, but I don't really know why. I just could never get why she expressed such a need to befriend Somerset. It's just she speaks more to him throughout the film than she does to her husband despite how happy they're supposed to be. It's just the only aspect of the plot I could never grasp fully, which isn't really a criticism of the film, it's just my own pondering.
There’s a huge and shocking twist towards the end. I unintentionally spoiled it for myself through YouTube. Not knowing anything much about this film prior to watching it, I "cleverly" decided to watch a random scene just to see if it would be something I could get into…But I really picked the wrong scene…So I didn’t get the same impact as I probably should have, which I’ve always been disappointed about! Like everyone knows the quote "What's in the box?" and I knew of it too, I just didn't know at the time this was the film it was from... I bet not knowing the twist would have been absolutely amazing though! Oh well. Let this be a lesson for people, I guess!! Never go on YouTube prior to watching a movie!!!!!
Regardless, with or without knowing the twist, this is still definitely a film that needs to be watched. It’s incredible.