March 17, 2006
Directed by: Omar Naim
Written by: Omar Naim
Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Low
Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Medium
Key Cast Members:
Overview: Overview: Sometimes we find a movie that has an idea so intriguing that it just can’t fail to be great – yet the director still finds a way to screw it up. The Final Cut is this kind of movie. The Final Cut explores the idea, “If every moment of your life was recorded on camera, would you live differently?” While you might expect a focus on the changes to society this technology engenders, instead, it turns out that the entire purpose of a camera implanted in you at birth is to have a paltry video “rememory” of your life at your funeral!!!! Gee, wow – yeah, that’s what I’d do with that technology – screw up my whole life so that people at my funeral can be bored to death with even MORE home movies!
i. A Cutter cannot sell or give away Zoe footage
ii. A Cutter cannot have a Zoe implant.
iii. A Cutter cannot mix Zoe footage from different lives for a Rememory.
The Story: The Final Cut takes place in a near future scenario that looks almost exactly like the present, with one exception – a technology that can be implanted directly into the eyes prior to birth is now in vogue. The purpose of this technology, created by the Zoe corporation, is to record your life so that upon your death, a “Cutter” can compose a “rememory” of your life to immortalize you for all time. This “Rememory” isn’t really representative of someone’s actual life, but is instead a compilation of how the family members “want” to remember you (hence, the term “rememory”). Alan Hakman, played by Robin Williams, is a Cutter-extraordinaire. He is brought in by family members when the deceased was a major scumbag in real life. His job is simple – he must take the available memories and “compose” a final cut of their life that leads everyone to think this scumbag was actually a saint.
Unfortunately for Alan, his latest rememory scumbag – a child molester – is high profile enough that there are people looking to gain access to this guy’s memories. Alan is in danger of breaking one of the rules of the Cutter oath (a Cutter cannot sell or give away Zoe footage). Worse, in viewing the footage, Alan sees a childhood friend who he thought he accidentally killed dead long ago. Now horrible memories of Alan’s childhood come crashing back – so strong that he can’t help but investigate. And in the process of doing so, Alan realizes he may have broken another more critical Cutter law.
The Use of the Technology: The most annoying part of The Final Cut is the idea that a technology this powerful would only be used to compose a home movie at a funeral. This simply doesn’t pass common sense muster. Even if the Zoe Corporation wouldn’t allow scans of the technology when alive, a groundswell of techy-hacker types would find a way to do this. More likely, a technology such as this would be accessed by people on a regular basis. An audio-video record of everything you see could spurn all sorts changes in society. While the Final Cut touches on the change in personal interaction, this becomes hard to believe if the only implication is that someone’s entire life will be boiled into a 30 minute slice at the funeral. I mean, what are the chances that anything incriminating would show up there, especially if the job of a Cutter is to suppress all the juicy sleazebag stuff? Again, terrific idea with lots of promise – but the Final Cut almost completely wastes it.
The Acting: Even though the script is hurting in this movie, Robin Williams turns in a terrific, if sedated performance. He really adds credibility to a plot that otherwise could have been horribly received. Unfortunately, Mira Sorvino in a supporting role really isn’t given enough to have the chance of making much of an impact. James Caviezel does turn in a cool performance as a conflicted bad guy.
The Bottom Line: Visually, there is little interesting about The Final Cut. Thematically, the movie is frustrating in that it had the potential to be very interesting. Fortunately for the viewers, Robin Williams flat out rescues the Final Cut from mediocrity to the point that you still will care enough about the technology to spend a moment or two thinking about it’s potential impact on society. And truly, regardless of the plot holes in this film, the technology concepts are just not that far-fetched. In an age where RFID chips are already being implanted in people, a microscopic video camera integrated into the eyes tied to a micro-hard disk may not be that far away. This “very-near” future potential adds credibility to the visuals which generally show a current society. If you are interested in thinking through the potential impact of technology such as this, The Final Cut is a decent watch. If you like Robin Williams, it’s a MUST SEE movie. Otherwise, you can probably make it through life without giving the Final Cut a viewing.
Tags: Movie Review