Rated: R for language, violence and graphic murder scenes. Reviewed by: Chris Release date: September 22, 1995 Released by: New Line Cinema
Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt play homicide detectives trying to track down a diabolical serial killer in this new thriller by New Line Cinemas.
Detective Somerset (Freeman) is leaving the force in seven days because he's burnt out and disgusted with the carnage he sees on the job every day. Quiet and cynical, Somerset is the opposite of his young replacement, Detective Mills (Pitt), a newlywed with hope for his future.
Their first case together is a grisly murder of an obese man. The scene, strewn with half-eaten food, dirty dishes, and the tortured remains of a man, is ghastly. His killer leaves no fingerprints or clues to his identity, except for an enigmatic message about gluttony.
Somerset figures that the killer is going to murder innocent people for each of the seven deadly sins and when a second murder of a lawyer with a message about "greed" is discovered, he decides to put off his leaving until the killer is nabbed.
Most of the film is in rain-soaked night or in rooms lit only by flashlight. The dead bodies are so gross-looking, maybe we should be thankful for small favors.
Freeman's Somerset is a man of few words. He doesn't waste time with small talk or social get-togethers; in fact, he doesn't seem to have a life away from the job. Pitt's character is happily married to his high school sweetheart (Gwenyth Paltro) and optimistic for their life together. Unlike his partner, he can leave behind the horrors he sees every day and go home to a loving wife.
Since there aren't any clues at the murder scenes, the identity of the killer is just sprung on the audience, taking away any chance for a buildup of suspense.
Instead of an exciting thriller, the film begins sluggishly sand plods along from one murder to another, as if showing close-ups of autopsies and decaying bodies takes the place of a good plot. After a while you begin to ask yourself, "Do I really want to see this?" and the answer is "No."