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The Final Cut (2004)

Every moment of your life recorded. Would you live it differently?

Rating: 5/10

Running Time: 94 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12a

In a vaguely futuristic world (conveniently, the only technology that seems to be any different to what we have at the moment is the stuff that directly affects the plot), two meddling kiddies sneak into what appears to be an old abandoned dangerous pit factory. The previous tenants had probably been making old abandoned dangerous pits there for years without a single accident – only for these two to come along. Predictably, one of them plummets to what looks like could well be his death, and the other one scarpers, his trousers no doubt the browner for the experience.

Forty-odd years and lots of body hair later and Alan – the kid who did the runner – has turned into Robin Williams. He’s working as a “cutter”, a controversial position involving editing footage of dead folks’ lives to show at their funerals. Seems a reasonable enough job, you might think – until you learn that the footage is gathered by an implant stuck inside people’s noggins at birth, and that there’s a growing swarm of the public who are none too chuffed about the process. One such mutineer is Fletcher (Jim “Christ Almighty” Caviezel, who somewhat distractingly appears to be still wearing his ‘Passion of the Christ’ beard), a former cutter who’ll seemingly do anything to bring all production of this nifty brain gizmo creaking to a halt. Add to that the fact that Alan’s about to be predictably visited by a face from the past, and you have a central character who certainly has plenty of problems to be getting on with.

‘The Final Cut’ has an interesting premise, though I’ll wager it’s nothing you won’t have seen done better – and with more brevity – in any old episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’ or ‘The Outer Limits’. At times it’s as if writer-director Omar Naim has a message for us, but sadly isn’t skilled enough as either a writer or a director to get it across clearly. In fact, for all the importance that hinges on its concept, the best thing about it is probably Williams, who shows yet again what a fine actor he’s matured into. He has little to work with here, but his assured and introverted performance keeps the thing watchable and injects tension where many other actors would have failed to do so.

But, Williams or not, my overwhelming feeling as the end credits rolled was that this entire movie is one whopping great missed opportunity. It’s a film with undoubted potential, but it comes nowhere near to realising it. As it is, you’ll need more than a top-of-the range brain implant to stand a chance of ever remembering this one.

It's Got: Jim Caviezel looking like he’s become a bit too attached to the “Messiah” look. When he first appeared with that ridiculous false beard I was half-expecting the camera to pan down and reveal him to be also wearing sandals and a crucifix.

It Needs: To have considered the fact that a much better use for the brain implant technology would be to allow people to look at their own past while still alive, rather than having to make do with having people at their funerals seeing someone else’s choice of edited highlights once they’ve snuffed it. It might have opened up an avenue to a better film, too.


Ironically, this tale of how to save and record your memories is completely forgettable.