Stars: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey. Rated R for violence, profanity, nudity.

There are seven deadly sins according to Dante: gluttony, lust, envy, pride, wrath, greed, and sloth. A killer is using these sins to justify the series of murders he is committing. This is the premise of the thriller "Seven" starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. It's the movie closest in content to "The Silence of the Lambs" to hit the theaters in the past few years, but doesn't achieve the level of involvement that that Best Picture merited.

Pitt plays a veteran cop who has only recently made detective. Freeman plays a well-respected detective who is going to be stepping down in a few days to continue life as a civilian. Teamed together for a rather gruesome murder in which an obese man was forcibly fed until he died, the two find themselves immediately at odds because of their different approaches and levels of experience. Pitt is given the next homicide solo, a case in which a successful but disreputable lawyer has been executed in his office with the word "greed" written on the carpet in the dead man's blood. When the word "gluttony" is later found behind the refrigerator in the apartment where the obese man lived, it is Freeman who makes the connection between the slayings. He predicts that five more will follow and it is not long before this prophecy proves to be well founded.

After the fifth murder, the killer astonishes the police force by turning himself in. His lawyer insists that his client will plead insanity and not divulge the locations of the final two corpses unless Pitt and Freeman drive him to the bodies while following the killer's specific directions. If they comply, he will sign a full confession and plead guilty in court. It is understood by all involved, however, that the killer has a personal agenda that consists of more than just a mere sight-seeing trip.

Freeman shines in "Seven" in much the same way that he has, without exception, in the past. Pitt, on the other hand, seems to have been chosen just for marquee value and his contribution to the film's style and integrity is negligible. The final sequence, during which the two detectives speak to the killer at length on the way to the crime scene, is one of both subtlety and substance. Had the whole film been as fascinating as this sequence, it could have rivaled Jonathan Demme's award winner. But too much of the film to that point is standard buddy-cop fare and the film's ending is just a little too pat. "Seven" proves that there is an eighth deadly sin, after all: the sin of mediocrity.

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