Monday, January 7, 2008

The Final Cut (2004)

"There's no place for me with you. You haven't even made room for yourself. You have to separate yourself from that machine."
- Delila (Mira Sorvino)

In the near future, a device called a ‘Zoe Implant’ can be purchased and inserted into a human baby and will record a movie of their entire life. When the implanted person dies, their family can choose to have a ‘cutter’ edit the footage for a memorial ceremony. Alan Hakman (Robin Williams) has a reputation as the best cutter, and is also known for being able to edit those lives that have a lot of ‘ugliness’ that needs to be cut. As a young boy, Alan was partially responsible for, and witnessed the death of, another young boy he was playing with. While processing Zoe footage, Alan comes across someone who appears to be this young boy as an adult. While investigating this, he discovers that he has an implant, and all the dirt he has been hiding will someday be revealed. It’s an intriguing concept that carries about 60% of the film. The only weaknesses are the performances by some of the supporting actors, but when that many performances are below par, I generally blame the director. It’s an interesting point – that sometimes our personal memories that affect every aspect of our life are complete fiction. Intriguing but flawed; is this a slight ripoff of the 1980 film Deathwatch (aka La Mort en Direct)?

It’s sci-fi, so here are the nits: (1) How long would it really take for one man to edit 544,000 life hours into a 20 minute highlight reel? (2) The last scene in the film has rival ex-cutter Fletcher watching the footage of Hakman taken by Hakman’s implant. Hakman brushes his teeth while looking at himself in a mirror. When he finishes, he walks away from the mirror. What we should see is the image of him turning, and then a view of the wall in the rest of the room as he turns. Instead, he disappears, and we still see the mirror! Rating: 2.5 of 4 reviewed 3 Nov 2007

"For a movie that often feels like it's cobbled together from pieces of Minority Report, Blade Runner and other futuristic odysseys, this one is weirdly engrossing."
- Matt Brunson (Creative Loafing)

"Naim's direction is as pedestrian as his screenplay, and his inexperience at working with actors surfaces in the one-note performances."
- Ethan Alter (Film Journal International)

"The plot creaks with wild coincidences, spotty writing, and twists that fail to thrill so much as make the audience groan in the face of yet another cliché."
- Andrea Chase (Killer Movie Reviews)

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