Cyberpunk Review » Final Cut

March 17, 2006

Final Cut

Year: 2004

Directed by: Omar Naim

Written by: Omar Naim

IMDB Reference

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Low

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Medium

Key Cast Members:

  • Alan W. Hakman: Robin Williams
  • Delila: Mira Sorvino
  • Fletcher: James Caviezel
  • Rating: 6 out of 10



    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!



    Cutter Code of Ethics
    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.



    “My job is to help people remember what they want to remember.”


    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.


    ~See movies similar to this one~

    Tags: Movie Review

    This post has been filed under Memory Modification, 6 Star Movies, Cyberpunk movies from 2000 - 2009 by SFAM.


    March 19, 2006

    DannyV_El_Acme said:

    You know, I might just rent this movie, just because of both my fandom for cyberpunk and my fandom for Robin Williams. And might I add that it’s an absolute SHAME Robin Williams isn’t given more dramatic roles, considering how awesome he was in Insomnia and One Hour Photo.

    By the way, SFAM, is Bicentennial Man on the list for cyberpunk movies? Although its a much more optimistic view of the future than usually portrayed in cyberpunk, the way it handles the theme of what it is to be human and the blurring of the line between man and machine is wonderful.

    SFAM said:

    Hi DannyV, the Bicentennial Man DVD is less than 4 feet from me. I hope to be reviewing it sometime this week, along with Robocop, I, Robot and 964 Pinocchio.

    […] The trend is clear: reality shows and social software technologies are transforming you an I into the stars of the modern media age. Our movie stars are quickly losing their sacred pedestal as the voice and face of society. The societal actors are becoming the nameless many, who now can make a name for themselves by podcasting the latest bizarre incident in their lives for all to see. Yes, as the article suggests, we can use the podcasts to immediately broadcast to Manhattan that our crab cakes at Crabs-R-Us contained too much filler, but over time, the game show host mentality will take over. Then the question facing society will not be too dissimilar from the question explored in Final Cut: how will people act when they know that potentally all their interactions are being recorded for others’ consumption? […]

    August 5, 2006

    Hugo said:

    “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.”

    Sorry to quote, but are you kiddnig? That’s EXACTLY what we as human beings would do with a great new piece of technology! The world invests US$37 million on iPods since 2001, and US$20.5 million on artificial heart research in that same amount of time. At least we know where the world’s priorities lie :D.

    SFAM said:

    Hi Hugo, that’s a pretty funny thought :)

    Although, just even thinking of the more baser uses of this technology, wouldn’t you imagine someone would want access to it to replay an old argument with someone else? Say, over a verbal handshake deal, or witness to a crime, for instance? I just can’t imagine anyone would go through this with their baby and then not want to reap the benefits of it.

    August 6, 2006

    Hugo said:

    Oh yes, definitely.

    I especially imagine a woman in curlers saying, “You promised, Larry. You promised you’d take me out for a nice dinner this Saturday!” and then the husband would scoff and say, “Really? When?” and she would whip out this little monitor and replay the conversation :D.

    October 27, 2007

    lorry said:

    it would stuff politicians

    April 23, 2008

    VeriChip to push spy-chips on old farts said (pingback):

    […] as a way to resurrect or clone you if you die (Altered Carbon reference), or for someone to make a Final Cut of your […]

    November 9, 2008

    tricky said:


    tricky said:


    February 6, 2010

    Software said:

    Very cool movie. I really liked.

    April 16, 2010

    Majus said:

    You, I’ve been heavily analyzing media labeled as “cyberpunk” lately and I have to say this is definitely “post-cyberpunk.”

    There is no “punk.” The cyberpunk visuals look like a stylistic recording studio from the early 70’s and Blair Witch Project-esque camerawork with subtitles.

    This is more like “lite cyberpunk” or “futuristic thriller” (more of what I believe is post-cyber)

    Majus said:

    whoops. I meant, “You know.”

    Leave a comment

    ~All Related Entries Related This~


    <<--Back to top

    Made with WordPress and the Semiologic CMS | Design by Mesoconcepts