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Reviews » Theatrical Reviews » The Final Cut
The Final Cut
Lionsgate Home Entertainment // PG-13 // October 15, 2004
Review by Kim Morgan | posted October 18, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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An interesting, potentially layered concept is turned into a futuristic exercise of lifelessness in director Omar Naim's debut film The Final Cut. A picture that bargain-basement borrows from Phillip K. Dick and even Francis Ford Coppola's masterpiece, The Conversation, Final Cut gives us a future that's not too hard to imagine—one of selective memory.

In another stab at understatement Robin Williams plays a depressive, guilt-ridden loner who works for a company that supplies the Zoe Chip. The chip is implanted in your brain at birth, recording all of your memories so that when you die, you can have a "cutter," like Williams's character, not so subtly named Allan Hakman (Get it? Cut? Hack? And then, possibly Gene Hackman for his character in The Conversation?), splice all the important and good memories of your life to show at your funeral. Only the wealthy can afford such a procedure, but there are plenty who are against the chip—these dissenters are represented mostly by tattooed people picketing outside various cutter areas and bereavement ceremonies.

Working as someone's own personal film editor (another intriguing layer to the film), Hakman has seen the stuff left on the cutting room floor and much of it ain't pretty. One case in particular reveals a man molesting his daughter, something he must think about when meeting the family and talking to the little girl. To say that Hakman is haunted by his job is an understatement. He's also haunted by his own memories, specifically, a childhood incident during which a good friend of his died while they were playing. In Hakman's memory, he acted with fear and cowardice when he left his friend for dead and he's never recovered from the shame. But worse, within the rich, molesting man's chip there is a cocktail party where that little boy turns out to be a grown-up man, very much alive. Or is he?

Meanwhile, Hakman has other difficulties in his life—one being relationship problems with his girlfriend (a wasted Mira Sorvino) and the pursuit of an anti-cutter named Fletcher (Jim Caviezel) who believes the chip goes against the very human need to forget. He also knows that it hides crimes and, being an ex-cutter himself, hiding that kind of knowledge can't be healthy.

Toying with ideas of a future that works much like cinema and, especially, the use of a technology that could provide insight but instead white-washes, The Final Cut offers up some interesting ideas, and it would have been nice to see these ideas deepened. Perhaps this would have been possible in other hands. Though Naim's solemn direction (the lovely cinematography was helmed by Tak Fujimoto) and tidy script aren't laughable, and the film does work on a relatively realistic concept, it's too expressionless to garner any feeling. For a film that's fighting for things so human, it's remarkably soulless.

Read More Kim Morgan at her blog Sunset Gun
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