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The Final Cut
2004 - PG-13 - 104 Mins.
Director: Omar Naim
Producer: Nick Wechsler
Written By: Omar Naim
Starring: Robin Williams, Jim Caviezel, Mira Sorvino, Mimi Kuzyk
Review by: Joe Rickey
Official Site: www.finalcutfilm.com
   
It is the not too distant future and the use of implants called “Zoë Chips” has been approved and in use for years now. These chips record every waking moment of the implantee’s life so that when they die a video referred to as a “Re-Memory” can be created as a sort of visual eulogy for the dead. Alan Hakman (Robin Williams) is employed as one of the editors or “cutters” as they are called. His job is to reduce someone’s life down into a smoothly paced video that highlights only the good facets of the person’s life while ignoring the more devious side of human nature. He has gained a reputation for being able to make daisies out of even the most disgusting person’s life while remaining detached from the vile acts he witnesses.

While editing the life of a high society corporate executive he thinks he sees someone from his past, someone who has haunted his memories for decades. This discovery leads Hakman on a journey that drags him knee-deep into a side of human existence that repulses even him, desensitized as he is to most behavior.

‘The Final Cut’, written and directed by Omar Naim, is an occasionally disturbing film blessed with a superb premise and good acting while, at the same time, cursed by underwhelming execution and an absolutely garish look courtesy of digital video processing.

The premise for ‘The Final Cut’ is ripe with possibilities. There are seemingly countless different paths that could be explicated. The idea of the public vs. private domain when it is applied to the idea of memories and whether one’s memories should be put on display for all to see; this is such an inherently intriguing idea that a great film could and should have been created. Unfortunately, Omar Naim, a rookie writer/director opts for a disappointingly conventional take on the material. He shapes the film as just another mystery without even doing much to transform the film into anything especially thrilling or memorable (pun intended). A point also must be made about his decision to utilize digital video a la ’28 Days Later’ to shoot the film. While it may be some sort of twisted metaphor for the fuzziness with which we actually remember the past, it certainly does not add any new dimension to the film. Instead, it detracts because the film is often shrouded in darkness in the first place and digital video makes it even worse, almost to the point of being unable to decipher what is occurring.

At least the film is the beneficiary of another solid performance by Robin Williams, once again playing a more subdued persona. He effortlessly conveys the tortured soul that Alan Hakman has become -- almost an automaton far removed from what it means to be a human being. In a supporting performance as a decidedly serpentine ex-cutter, Jim Caviezel gives a pitch-perfect performance.

Yet another film that plays it safe and suffers as a result, only the consistently good performances from two well-known thespians keep ‘The Final Cut’ from the cinematic trash bin.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Disappointing.  Had the right ingredients and should have been better. Disappointing.  Had the right ingredients and should have been better.
  2 out of 5 stars

 
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