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The Final Cut

2006-03-30 13:21


Director Omar Naim takes us into a future in which eulogies are replaced by a rememory ceremony. Before you are born, your parents have the option of giving you a Zoe chip implant. This implant records your entire life from the minute you are born, until you exhale your last breath. Once you have passed away your implant is given to a cutter who reviews your whole life and edits it into a short film for your rememory.

Alan Hackman (Robin Williams) has the controversial job of being a cutter for Eye Tech - the company that implants the Zoe chips. While working on the rememory of a former Eye Tech lawyer, Hackman comes across footage that is linked to a memory from his own haunted childhood. The discovery drives Hackman to find the truth and face his own demons. As he journeys towards the truth he must deal with persecution by opponents of Eye Tech who believe that memories are meant to fade and remain private.


Who better to play an emotionally distant character with a nervous disposition than Robin Williams? After films like One Hour Photo and Insomnia it is clear that Williams is dead set on establishing himself as a serious actor, but his performance in The Final Cut can easily be mistaken as lack of interest in the film. You can't blame him if he seems distant, because chances are he's continuously trying to figure out exactly which plot Alan Hackman needs to focus on.

First, we have the guilt of a traumatic childhood event that burdens Hackman, constantly reminding him of why he needs to forgive other people for how they have lived and create exemplary rememories of their lives. Hackman lives strictly by the cutter code and imagines himself to be a "sin eater". He is forced to apply this philosophy when viewing the Zoe implant of a former Eye Tech lawyer, Charles Bannister. At the same time he discovers footage that could hold the key to the absolution he has been seeking his whole life.

Indirectly responsible for sending Hackman in search of the truth is fellow cutter, Thelma (Mimi Kuzyk). Not only does she have a significant role to play later in the film, she also encourages some comic relief by fawning enthusiastically over her young, good-looking assistants.

Then we have former cutter, Fletcher (James Caviezel) who now opposes Eye Tech and the lack of choice those with the implants have had. Fletcher has come to the realisation that rememories hold some serious moral implications and he needs to have Bannisters' Zoe implant to expose these implications. Caviezel is a welcome and refreshing addition to film and portrays his character with passion and conviction. He aids the plot by quickening the pace and prevents the film from slipping into drama.

Finally we have the somewhat insignificant role of Delila (Mira Sorvino). Many films feel the need to introduce a romantic element at some point and it seems Delila was created just for that reason. Although the interaction between Delila and Hackman may seem pointless in the overall picture, there is one moment where you can't help but feel that Naim is trying to address one of the dilemmas a rememory can have.

The Final Cut concludes on a very elated note, but its impact lingers and you may inadvertently end up taking a look at your own life. Although it's not a film for everyone, the concept of recording your whole life for a rememory is one that is sure to give fuel to many late night philosophical discussions and debates.

Making his writing and directing debut in The Final Cut, Omar Naim has been compared to M. Night Shyamalan who brought us The Sixth Sense and more recently The Village. Others may not agree, but be that as it may, Naim is worth keeping an eye on.

Now the only question we're left with is: "Does the Zoe implant record in surround sound?"

- Louis Basson

A futuristic thriller that presents us with a host of profound moral questions, the foremost being: "If every minute of your life was recorded, would you lead it differently?"

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