This ending has become so infamous and ingrained in the annals of cinema that watching it now is like revisiting an old friend. However, that familiarity is a disservice to how alternative and shocking it was when originally released.
David Fincher had to fight the studio in order to keep this monumentally down-beat, yet intelligent, ending in. With the help of Brad Pitts’s backing he got his way, and thankfully so, as it ties together one of the best films of the 90’s in a dark, nasty, neat package.
The film treats Gwyneth Paltrow’s character in such a way that you always feel she is on the side-lines, separate from the dark world of the detective’s case, making the reveal that John Doe has used her for the final piece of his macabre puzzle all the more surprising. No one saw it coming. Especially Mills, who finds out in a further twist that she was also pregnant. A devastating ending to an outstanding movie.