208 – The Final Cut

A wannabe thriller with a fantastic premise sinks under its own weight, complete with overacting, a muddled plot, and a cliched script.

Alan Hakman (Robin Williams) is a cutter, responsible for editing the recorded video of people’s lives (they’ve been implanted since birth with a recording device) into an upbeat, hero-building “Rememory” for surviving loved ones to enjoy. But Alan’s cold life takes a downward turn when he discovers one of his own repressed memories in the video of a client.

When Alan was ten years old, something dreadful happened that affected him the rest of his life, including his choice of vocation. He’s grown up to be the best cutter there is, a real whiz with splicing good memories to good memories. He gets all the high-profile contracts, yet he’s able to remain aloof, emotionless, with a null-and-void soul. Then he thinks he recognizes someone in the background of a Rememory he’s working on, and his childhood memory resurfaces.

Does sound like a intriguing idea, doesn’t it? In the hands of a real sci-fi writer, it might have followed through on its own promise. But writer-director Omar Naim’s story quickly dissolves into a by-the-numbers thriller, complete with Jim Caviezel as a former cutter out to bring down the entire industry while working for an opposition group. It’s not that Naim’s script is so terrible, it’s that there aren’t really any surprises. Aside from the gee-whiz aspect of the whole “cutting” idea, there’s really nothing else that’s all that exciting.

It’s also a shame to see a couple of rather poor performances from Williams and Mira Sorvino. Remember, once upon a time Sorvino won an Oscar, and she hasn’t done a heck of a lot since. Williams has been nominated four times, winning for Good Will Hunting in 1998. Both, then, have some credentials. So why are they in this junk? Sorvino overacts outrageously in the few scenes she’s in. Sometimes this is called “stealing scenes,” but only when the overacting seems appropriate for the particular scene. Needless to say, Sorvino’s performance is never really appropriate.

Williams isn’t a lot better. Sure, he’s not Manic Robin, dancing all over the screen like he has ADHD; he’s Serious Robin, the kind we saw in One Hour Photo and Insomnia. This Robin is a fantastic actor. He’s not terrible here, but he just seems out of place. He seems to be sleepwalking through the role.

All in all, The Final Cut is a fairly low-key movie that doesn’t live up to its own premise.

The Final Cut: **


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