Shake the Scene: Seven


Seven (1995)


The Scene: “What’s in the BOOOXXXX?”

Warning: Potential Spoilers!

Why I Love This Scene: I hate to be serious on our supposedly light and humorous movie blog but I feel like shit and it’s not because of anything I did, which is the odd part. You don’t have to go far to know that we’ve had a really hard time lately this year due to violent deaths. In the past month we’ve had some really shitty events happen and it’s starting to make me really disheartened and depressed. And it’s not just the violent acts that are making me stressed-out but the social commentary and reactions to these horrible events. Hell, even the current presidential race is really agitating me to no-end and making me lose all hope. I’m not going to get into my particular opinions on these matters; I just wanted to set the tone for this post.  

After these terrible acts of mass murders, a lot of people like to say prayers, others get political and some try to regain hope. Lately, I’m losing more and more of my nerve and becoming even more standoffish and cynical. There’s always someone on, say Facebook, that posts the meme of Mister Rogers about “look for the helpers” in a crisis situation. It’s a great uplifting quote, don’t get me wrong and maybe a while ago I would’ve thought it more appropriate in these situations but now I’m thinking of the Ernest Hemingway quote that Detective Somerset, played masterfully by Morgan Freeman, says in the finale of Seven:

“The world’s a fine place and worth fighting for.”

Somerset then adds: “I agree with the second part.”

When I first saw Seven back in 1995, I thought it was a masterpiece of psychological thrillers. It’s still great but I don’t trust what 18-year-old me says anymore. It was the first time I took Brad Pitt seriously and not just a teenage heart-throb anymore. It was gritty, scary, cerebral and had a great score. It was a conceptual parable crime-thriller, which is somewhat rare and I still think it holds up still even if the concept is a wee bit odd considering that the plot revolves around a serial killer who wants to make a point by killing people with the seven deadly sins. Who’s he making this point to exactly? He keeps records of his madness in notebooks but it’s really only up to the police to publish these rants and ideas since the killer, John Doe, doesn’t make them public. And to make his concept odder still he picks on very brash and naive Detective Mills to complete his “work” and drive the point home. When the finale rolls around and John Doe completes the last 2 sins it seems like a dead-end, which is either genius or just plain insane OR BOTH!!

But getting back to my point, the world is NOT a fine place, yet it is worth fighting for indeed. As I’m getting older, I’m not seeing a whole lot of worthiness in humankind. I see a ton of indifference, greed, carelessness and a complete lack of compassion. And Seven is a perfect metaphor for these types of feelings. Everyday, I could think like John Doe and judge people and want to change the world, but John Doe’s idea of change is a very evil way. It’s also the easy route. Any asshole can judge people and kill them. We have to be more like Somerset and try to defeat the John Doe’s with compassion and better morals. It’s way too easy to succumb like Detective Mills did with vengeance and murder. At another point in the film Somerset says: “…love costs. It takes effort and work.” Again, another perfect metaphor for these trying times.

I’m going to get off my soapbox in a minute but I felt that Hemingway/Somerset’s quote was very apt, to me anyway—especially with Somerset’s added commentary. The good people cannot stop the fight otherwise we devolve into chaos. And it sounds cheesy to say that but as a father now I see the real reason, the only reason to fight for this “fine world,” is for my children—our children.

6 thoughts on “Shake the Scene: Seven

  1. Great post and such a great scene/movie. I didn’t catch this film until 2005/2006, and what a masterpiece it was! I don’t think my naive mind could have handled this in 1995! The movie is so well done by Fincher and doesn’t look aged at all.

    Liked by 1 person

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