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Analysis of Se7en - the Movie

Essay by   •  April 23, 2017  •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,162 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,434 Views

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Se7en is a thriller, directed by David Fincher and published in 1995. The film, is about a murderer who manoeuvres throughout the seven deadly sins. The following analytical essay consists of an analysis of the setting, theme - quote and discussion of the concept of evil.

The location where se7en takes place is unmentioned, only referred to as “this place”. This indicates that it is like this everywhere, not just this one location. This makes everything much more horrifying, almost similar to a nightmare, where people have a low morale and the city have a high rate of criminality. We hear about this portentous city, where it constantly rains (07.46 - 29.34). This dreary atmosphere and the heavy rain might help us draw parallels to the apathetic and cruel presence of ours, where we have the opportunity to wash away our daily deadly sins, which is one of the key themes of the movie. The rain also adds up to all the terror and misery (02.04). It covers a period of seven days, each day with a new killing. It is a rough neighbourhood, with limited opportunities. Not the optional place to raise a family. The setting of Se7en requires a feeling of mystery and suspense, with the use of prevalent low key lightning to exhibit a monotonous atmosphere and leave the characters of the film “in the dark” - as they are unaware of several murders and the link in between. The colourless environment, helps us emphasizing a feeling of clandestine and insecurity, as the only colours that are used are dark colours with a lighting to create depth in the image to suggest that Se7en is a film with a sudden surge of mystery (07.37, 17.09, 1.52.18, 1.56.50). Furthermore, the colours red, black and grey appearing, shows that danger, fear, vengeance and grief are associated. With the use of narrative enigmas, the film Se7en leaves the audience in the dust, as the information is limited and a puzzle has to be figured out.

Wanting people to listen, you can't just tap them on the shoulder anymore. You have to hit them with a sledgehammer, and then you'll notice you've got their strict attention.” said by antagonist John Doe (1.42.34) sums up the theme of apathy. One of the major messages John Doe tries to communicate is that every single individual are sinners. All people are corruptible. In fact, we are only as good as our willpower allows us to be. Idealism is besmirched and verified almost as illogical as a psychosis. Although conversely, there is a rehabilitated fight for life on earth and justice even though the world is not a pleasant place.  

Another theme is The Seven Deadly SinsJohn Doe uses them as a weapon in his battle against apathy. He uses them as a way of expressing our everyday sins, but in such extreme ways, that we cannot choose to shut our eyes. He forces us to keep them open, by "turning each sin against the sinner" (1:46:33).

The last line “the world is a fine place and worth fighting for … I agree with the second part,” indicates that Somerset means that the world is a cruel place to live. It is violent and miserable. Nevertheless, the existence of people is worth fighting for despite all the misery. This termination ends Se7en with a touch of optimism and empathy. The last line might also indicate W. Somerset as a symbol of empathy. When he acquires his post as a detective, he excludes apathy and chooses empathy. He has come to the awareness that the world is not a fine place as long as the presence of empathy is non-existent and cruelty, evil, violence and lastly the apathy of people exists and is tolerated.



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