Rain, Rain, Don't Go Away
In Seven, it feels like it's never going to stop raining. Mills and Somerset are constantly soaking wet, driving through the rain, or chasing the killer through a downpour. It never lets up. This adds a dark, moody, noir-type feel to the film and ups the misery of the setting: a city that doesn't seem like a nice place to visit, much less a place to live.
Once it starts, the rain only lets up twice in the whole movie. The first time is in the car when the police think Victor Allen is the killer. Somerset asks Mills if he's ever pulled his gun. The answer is no. Somerset then tells a story about a time he pulled his gun and used it. A junkie opened fire and killed one of Somerset's fellow cops. But Mills can't remember the officer's name. "Christ, what was his f***ing name?" Mills wonders, and during this ghastly reminiscence, the sun breaks through the clouds and shines into the interior of the car. It's a beautiful contrast to a depressing story.
In fact, the sun is almost a harbinger of evil in this movie. Darkness is the usual for the city, but maybe John Doe is so dark the sun just has to come out or risk a black hole of despair opening up in the middle of the street. The second time the sun comes out is when Doe turns himself in at the Fourteenth Precinct.
From then on out, it's sunny days chasing the clouds away … but this ain't Sesame Street. Doe forces the officers to take him outside the city, way outside, where it's practically a sun-drenched desert. There, the biggest evil rears its head (pun intended) in broad daylight, when Tracy's decapitated noggin is found in a box. Evil can happen even in sunlight, making this scene truly frightening.