In his latest of a string of dark, serious movies, Robin Williams plays a "cutter," a man who edits people's recorded memory into a movie-like summary of their lives. "The Final Cut" takes a look at the toll this job would take on a man and, more importantly, what impact would such memories have on the future?
In this interesting tale from first-time director Omar Naim, Williams plays Alan Hakman, the best at what he does. Despite a growing movement against the recording chips that are implanted into people's brains at birth, demand is still strong to pay final respects to the deceased by watching their lives repeated. Of course, as with any movie (and here I am referring to the recorded memories within "The Final Cut"), large segments have to be deleted for time constraints and to appeal to the audience, a.k.a. the deceased's family and friends. Hakman is especially troubled when he has to remove memories of a respected society man sexually abusing his younger daughter, among other things. What really troubles Hakman, though, are his own childhood memories of him failing to help a friend before he fell to his death. Hakman's never been able to overcome the guilt.
While not superb, "The Final Cut" is definitely interesting and most times engaging. Strangely enough, this movie never saw a wide release, nor even a respectable limited release. With the likes of Williams, Mira Sorvino and Jesus himself James Caviezel, "The Final Cut" had strong marketing opportunities, but Lions Gate failed to capitalize on them. The movie is at times suspenseful and raises several interesting questions, especially regarding how people would act out their lives if they new that someday someone else would get to relive them.
The movie does show signs of amateurism at times, but for his first major film, Naim definitely should be congratulated. Williams is strong in the lead role, but neither Sorvino nor Caviezel are given enough time to develop their characters. The story arc with Sorvino especially had strong potential, but parts seem to be missing that would have made it more believable and powerful. As for Caviezel, who plays the reluctant villain in the film, more time would have helped show the complexities that seem to be tearing him apart.
Despite a few shortcomings, "The Final Cut" is a worthwhile drama-thriller that I would definitely recommend.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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