From the cinematography of this scene we perhaps begin to see what deprivation and degradation a killer would have to be in to commit such heinous crimes, this scene shows what might motivate the killer, by living in what appears to be a desperate and cruel world giving an understanding of the killer to the audience, from this we begin to form opinion on the situation in our mind. This further generates response from the audience that maybe the director is questioning the audience and further more, society, for the reasons why people like “John Doe”, which is an American term for “any man”, may exist, implying that society creates John Does.
What we experience acoustically and visually in this scene is actually nothing new to any of us. Is this really that different to what many city people live in every day? Are we living in denial of how our lives and society really are? These are perhaps what the director is trying to convey in this scene. This notion is supported by it being explicitly stated and repeated later from John Doe in the car with the detectives in his conversation with them. In the conversation he repeats the many flaws of society and how blind we are to the real problems, which are valid and relevant problems of the things we do wrong as a society.
These are easily dismissed by the audience perhaps because of the type of person who is emitting them or nai?? veti?? to listen; such is similar to how Mills reacts in the scene by his blind and emotional nai?? veti??. The next scene, which takes up the majority of the sequence, is Summerset when he is in the library researching the case. The library forms a vast contrast to the previous scene in the nearly all aspects, in the camera work, editing, cinematography, sound and mise en sci?? ne as the library creates an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity.
However the lighting remains low key, dull and dark but this is an element which is constant through out the whole film until the end. In this scene initially the sound is diegetic because we see its origin of it on screen from the stereo, it is a piece of classical music, yet it serves the alternative purpose of being music reflecting the concentrated relaxed mood of Freeman. This makes it also empathetic sound as it reflects the mood of the scene and non diegetic as it plays while scene continues. The camera in this scene follows a selection of varied shots to show different aspects generating different reactions.
Although the library has a soothing calm atmosphere the camera shot help to constantly remind us of the tone of the film. The extreme close up of words on the page such as “Mutilated”, “Victim Forced” and “Children Stain”, pictures of goblins, zombies and religious aspects are made explicit by extreme close ups by the camera, which are juxtaposed with the atmosphere of the library created mainly by the audio of the scene. The colour and lighting compliment each other, as the lighting remains constant in this scene as it does throughout the film being low key, meaning dark and dull with contrasting shadows.
The colours seen in this light are dull although partially rich they are dark and drab. This coupled effect of light and colour provides a subtle heinous, sinister undertone which also re-enforces the issues discusses with camera technique and what response it generates. Editing of this scene aids in the portrayal of each summerset and Mills. The use of dissolving from the books to the face of Summerset, not only shows time forwarding smoothly but also gives an intellectual attribute to Summerset, as books naturally connote intelligence. This is re-enforced by the glasses he wears as glasses also connote intelligence.
The character position and placement of both characters in this scene and the use of mise en sci?? ne around them creates the distinctive contrast between them. The paradox becomes obvious as they are both aiming for the same goal yet they clearly occupy two opposite ends of the persuading spectrum. Morgan Freeman is in deep thought in the library, solitude which is supported by the editing. The contrast is seen between him and Brad Pitt, when he is shown to be at home with case notes on the coffee table, a beer in one hand and sport on the TV.
Brad Pitt is seen as a stereotypical male exercising his masculinity which greatly contrast Freeman who is reserved and a deep thinker. In conclusion the montage sequence in Seven chose incorporates all the elements of editing, mise en sci?? ne, cinematography and sound to create juxtaposition of images and a paradox is conjured which communicates the character personalities. In the cab scene what is viewed is nothing new to the viewer but is just a combination or negative images and sounds all at once to create the pessimistic view on life Freeman constantly expresses.
This also perhaps leads to a partial understanding as to why a killer like John Doe exists by perhaps the director David Fincher questioning societies activities and morals. The constant tone of cynicism is maintained by the lighting of the whole film being in low key lighting making it dark, dull and drab its darkness connotes horror to aid in creating tension and disturbing mind of audience. The film noir references in lighting and disorientating angles give the impression of the city is an unstable environment.
In the library scene the camera work maintains the subtle undertone of the overall eerie feel of the movie by extreme close ups on pictures of monsters and disturbing words which distort the perception of the viewer while calm and relaxing music plays over it, creating a juxtaposition to the scene. A paradox can be seen from the editing of this scene by the mise en sci?? ne of this scene, as positioning of the character, props, costume, and setting all contrast each other contrasting the characters making them seem so opposite, however the are the same as they are aiming for the same goal.