The Final Cut

Every so often a movie comes along that doesn’t really fit into the usual Hollywood “formula”. Explosions, catch-phrases, and BOOBS seems to be the way to hold the attention of audiences now. It’s sad to think that we’ve gone from “Casablanca” to “Gigli” but that’s how it goes. Society as a whole is just go-go-go and trying to fit in a movie is a pain sometimes. Most movies fall under the 2 hour mark now and studio execs cringe when the running time is over 120 minutes. The audiences have gotten spoiled.

Well, The Final Cut was awesome I thought. No sex scenes, no explosions, and no boobs. Just a very original story that was acted out very well by all the cast, most notably Robin Williams. I know that some people are not really fond of Williams when he goes all “dramatic-like” but I actually think they guy has some acting chops to flex. Yes, he is one of my favorite comedic actors of all time but have you seen all his dramatic skills? I haven’t seen ALL of them but I have seen “What Dreams May Come” which I loved. How about “Dead Poets Society”? You can’t have a serious discussion about Robin Williams as an actor without including that one. Although he was lauded as a great villain in “Insomnia”, it was his role in “One Hour Photo” that truly haunted me. The guy is great at playing just about anything, seriously.

In this film, he plays what is called a “cutter”. He is a glorified Audio-Visual club geek. The weird part though is that he cuts and pastes video footage of people’s memories into a nice, pretty little montage to be played at their wake/funeral. These short clips are referred to as “rememories” and the power the cutter holds is spectacular. As one of the characters says in the film “You turn sinners into saints”. The cutter sifts thru the footage of a person’s life (everything that has been seen and spoken) and pieces together a flattering goodbye to that person for the friends and family. The part where they turn a sinner into a saint is shown in a couple of the people whose rememories he’s working on. One man had several affairs (DELETE!) and another man sexually abused his daughter (DELETE!). What’s left for the memorial footage is the basic stuff; birth, love, high points in the life, happy things.

Well, Robin Williams’ character, Alan Hakman, has a secret from his past that has come back to haunt him while he is sorting thru one of his clients’ memories. He is taken back to his childhood to a tragedy that occurred and scarred him for life. What’s interesting is seeing him track down this memory only to find that his memory has betrayed him and it didn’t actually happen like he remembered.

The movie was a great discussion-starter. The “Wif” and I talked about it all the way to bed last night. All the different advantages and disadvantages to this technology (made possible by a fictional “zoe chip” implanted genetically before birth). Murders would be solvable, by and large. When your memory has gotten hazy and you can’t remember how someone looks exactly, you could get a “refresher” by watching the footage again. The disadvantages, and this was my contribution, would be the possibility of corporate espionage. People would kill to get your memory. Let’s say that you’re the inventor of some top-secret technology. You and ONLY you know how this technology was put together. If someone killed you (as far as the movie goes anyway), they could take your memory and somewhat reverse-engineer that technology. Scary stuff.

The movie is a two-way street. There are the cutters and the people who have been implanted with the zoe chip but there are also protestors of the technology, people who feel that it’s wrong to witness someone else’s memories. You should form your OWN memories, they cry. For the first half of the film, you see a good lot of these protestors with some funky tattoos/piercings on their faces and once they began to explain it, I saw where they were heading with it. Some very interesting points to be made on both sides of the table.

The film is not without it’s flaws however. Jim Caveziel, (yeah the guy who played Jesus Christ) plays Fletcher, an ex-cutter who spents the movie harassing Alan Hakman. The main flaw (besides the fact that I don’t really like him much anyway as an actor) is his beard. You’d think with a movie that gives itself so much reverent treatment, they could afford a better makeup artist. EVERYTIME he came on screen with that beard, I couldn’t help but think about the episode of Beavis and Butthead where those two lovable chumps tape hair to their faces in the hopes of impressing chicks. Absolutely HORRID beard. It was laughably bad, seriously. That was my MAIN gripe about the film. Everything else was a bit rough at times but overall, an amazing film.

Check out the trailer at the following link (sorry it’s a direct link so if you’re on dial-up you’re S.O.L.)


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