The screenplay by Andrew Kevin Walker is clever, if not too complex, the direction by David Fincher stylish and visually assured, and the constantly exciting plot unfolds slowly and seemingly predictably in front of our eyes before concluding explosively with the now mandatory thriller-twist. In 1995, however, this was an effect which still was fresh and, as handled by Fincher here and by Bryan Singer in The Usual Suspects, also incredibly powerful. What is impressive with Seven, is that the finale isn't only effective from a narrative point of view, but it also opens up a well of psychological and social discussions which have been lurking beneath the surface throughout the film's running time.
The initial premise here draws inspiration from Jonathan Demme's The Silence of The Lambs, as the up and coming detective must get into the mind of a serial killer while learning his trade from a more experienced colleague. A few early scenes here feel genre bound and recycled, maybe Fincher needed some time to shake off his disappointing experience making Alien³, but as we're delving deeper into the case, Fincher's antiquated, dilapidated and sinister urban portrayal finds its place and makes for an effective backdrop for the film's more deeper-lying discussion of morality, human values and modern urban life. The acting is good too, in particular by Morgan Freeman, who gives probably the best performance of his career as a disillusioned old-timer detective.