The Final Cut, much like The Jacket, is one of those cerebral thrillers that was advertised as a horror film. While I seriously doubt that any self-respecting slasher fans will really believe they’re going to find Robin Williams and Jim Caviezel starring in a flick about a machete-wielding maniac wearing a mask, they still might enjoy The Final Cut.
Barely given a theatrical release and even less of an ad campaign, this 2004 movie was largely unknown and went by pretty much unseen and unheralded. That’s a shame. But thanks to DVD, it has a chance to reach a large audience; it’s a surprisingly good, refreshing, and fascinating “what if…?” kind of thriller.
Set somewhere in the future, The Final Cut conjures up a scenario of a world where expecting parents can agree to let doctors surgically implant memory chips into the brains of their unborn children. These chips are like video cameras with infinite recording stock that comprehensively document the lives of their hosts through the hosts' own eyes. Not a moment is left unrecorded. When a host dies, an editor — or "cutter" — receives the memory chip footage from the deceased person's family in order to revise the memories for a funereal screening, called a "rememory." Most run about an hour and half, but there are also “shorts”. When master cutter Alan Hakman (Williams) finds information within the memories of a dead man about his own life, he is thrown headlong into jeopardy.
Williams is supported by excellent cast (Caviezel, Mira Sorvino, Mimi Kuzyk) and first time writer/director Omar Naim does an excellent job of keeping the mystery, drama and tension going while injecting his “Big Brother is watching” message and begging the question of the accuracy of our own memories. The cinematography, music, and yes, the editing, are top-notch. Reminiscent of science fiction cautionary tales like Gattaca and anything written by Philip K. Dick, The Final Cut is a must-see for fans of thought-provoking thrillers.
It’s a shame that this intelligent, well done movie didn’t get any recognition during Awards season, but hopefully it will build a fan base via of word of mouth when the DVD hits shelves on March 22.
Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson