Director: David Fincher
Cast: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, R. Lee Ermey
Synopsis: In an unidentified city of constant rain and urban decay, Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) is preparing to retire and leave the horrors of the city. Before he does so he is partnered with Detective David Mills (Brad Pitt), a cocky, young and short-tempered cop from Springfield, a comparatively small town. The two investigate the murder of a highly obese man who was forced to eat himself to death. Somerset investigates the murder while Mills is given the murder case of Defense Attorney Eli Gould, with GREED written in Gould’s blood on the floor. The police captain (R. Lee Ermey) gives Somerset an evidence container with three slivers of a plastic-like material found in the stomach of the obese man; which he was forced to consume along with the spaghetti. Going to the victim’s house, Somerset finds three groove marks in front of the refrigerator and finds that the plastic-like slivers fit into them perfectly. He finds the word GLUTTONY written behind the obese man’s fridge and theorizes that a serial killer is basing his crimes on the Seven Deadly Sins, with five more to go. To give Mills and Somerset a chance to get along, Mills’ wife, Tracy Mills (Gwyneth Paltrow) invites Somerset over for dinner. Using a contact in the FBI, Somerset gets a library list of people who have borrowed books related to the Seven Deadly Sins. The list leads the detectives to a man named John Doe, whose apartment they visit soon after. Doe, his face hidden, sees them as he comes home and pulls out a gun. After a long chase, Doe hits Mills with a tire iron, keeps him subdued at gunpoint, but lets him live and suddenly flees. With the murders piling up it all leads to a final confrontation with John Doe that will change Mills life forever.
Trivia: While filming the scene where Mills chases John Doe in the rain, Brad Pitt fell and his arm went through a car windscreen, requiring surgery. This accident was worked into the script of the film. Ironically, the original script did call for Pitt’s Det. Mills character to be injured during this sequence–but to something other than his hand. As preparation for his traumatic scene in the interrogation room, Leland Orser would breathe in and out very rapidly so that his body would be overly saturated with oxygen, giving him the ability to hyperventilate. He also did not sleep for a few days to achieve his character’s disoriented look.
Why I think you should see this: As I have said before David Fincher is one of the most talented directors in the business and this is his best work. I did not want to give away the actor identity of John Doe for those who haven’t seen it but you will be pleasantly surprised please no spoiler comments if you can help it. This and Twelve Monkeys helped me realize Brad Pitt was more than just a pretty face and that he was a really good actor. I also really enjoyed Morgan Freeman’s performance as the cop who is just about to retire but just needs to solve this last case. Just a great film though not for the faint of heart check it out sometime.