While the two scenes function the same when it comes to the aforementioned spatial awareness and breaking illusions — Brad Pitt’s character discovers his wife has become Kevin Spacey’s victim as Pitt’s own part in the plan becomes clear, Justice Smith is revealed to have actually been the mastermind of the elaborate web of cons and lies we’ve been shown — the two differ a bit when it comes to the emotional core of the endings themselves.
In “Seven,” there’s no denying that the film closes out on a really pessimistic note. Not only does Pitt’s partner (the incredible Morgan Freeman) actually find Pitt’s wife’s head in the box, Spacey’s evil plan — to rope Pitt into the plot as well by forcing him to take lethal action against Spacey in retaliation for his wife’s murder — goes off without a hitch and lands Pitt’s cop character in prison. The film closes with Freeman’s character saying, “Ernest Hemingway once wrote, ‘The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.’ I agree with the second part.” It’s a plain statement: there is evil all around us, no matter what we do. And it is defeatist in that message.