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Saturday, 23 December 2017

Retro Movie Review: The Final Cut (2004) #RobinWilliams

The Final Cut
Cast: Robin Williams, Mira Sorvino, Jim Caviezel, Mimi Kuzyk
Genre: Science Fiction Thriller
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $3 million 

Plot: Alan Hakman is a cutter, someone with the power of the final edit over people's recorded histories. His latest assignment is one that puts him in danger 

'Robin Williams Thriller That Lacks Cutting Edge, & A Bore Too'

The decade of the 2000s has been a very, what shall we say, experimental one for the movie career of Robin Williams; the late 1980s was spearheaded by the successes of Good Morning, Vietnam and Dead Poets Society, whereas the 1990s has been a blessing in more ways than one, with multiple blockbuster box office successes in Hook, Good Will Hunting, Aladdin and Mrs Doubtfire. Williams opened up the 2000s playing antagonists in Insomnia, One Hour Photo and Death to Smoochy.  

2004's The Final Cut saw Williams in a far less unconventional role and in a type of movie that doesn't feel so Robin Williams-like. Following on from his other less than typecast roles in psychological thrillers, Insomnia & One Hour Photo, The Final Cut has a plot that eerily resembles the one in Katherine Bigelow's Strange Days where people's memories, histories are recorded and edited, although it veers familiarly with Paycheck. It's more sci-fi than sci-fi action and it just wasn't that thrilling.

Williams plays Alan Hakman, a ''cutter'' who specialises in taking people's unhappy and dissatisfactory lives and editing & turning them into a movie, which is played at their funeral. He also has a secret: and that is he is still haunted by the memory of a violent incident that occurred in the past when he was a young child, of which to adult life, he still holds himself responsible for. Jim Caviezel plays the nemesis of Alan, Fletcher, who is an ex-assistant.

As I was watching this movie, I was literally thinking to myself what exactly possessed and attracted Robin Williams to star and do this film. It just didn't make sense, the story didn't make much sense and it was difficult to follow. 

At the same time, the lesser-known The Final Cut suffers the same, exact problem as the other less known thriller, Secret In Their Eyes: interesting concept, premise, but the execution is less than stellar and is just, therefore, not as potent as it ought to have been. Just because you have a big name actor in Robin Williams or even Julia Roberts in Secret In Their Eyes, it shouldn't mean that the film has to be melodramatic with little of the tension and action. But, with this offering, it is. It was thoroughly vanilla and stale. Williams's performance was, okay but it feels detached also & his character, Alan was a total bore. He did practically little in this film to maintain my enthusiasm towards it, such as uttering bland and uninspired dialogue. It's hardly any wonder that many of his fans, myself included, had & could care less about this effort. The material was so anaemic it didn't give him much to do. The coming together of Sorvino and Williams's characters, as well as their mismatched and implausible relationship - besides the fact they did not possess any onscreen sexual chemistry -, seems utterly forced and offers nothing tangible to the film, whatsoever.
The cast deserved a more coherent and intriguing story and plot, Williams is far too subtle but writer/director Omar Naim takes what sounds like a promising premise, yet he doesn't go out of its way to exploit it to its fullest, and greatest. When I saw the poster/cover for this movie, the impression was I was going to get a cool chase scene involving Robin Williams as the good guy and an exciting and substantial thriller. But in actuality, this was anything but that. It was shallow and dull. I was also confused with the Alan character: is he or is he not the bad guy and if so, why did he have to die? 

Robin Williams's movies in the 2000s right after Insomnia and One Hour Photo have been mostly terrible and largely forgettable: The Final Cut, however, had the potential to be good, to be worthy of a great film to stand alongside say Inception; sadly it feels lacklustre, with a story that should have been more engrossing and no real attempts are made to the audience to fully go along with Alan's journey and seeing him succeed. The plot twist towards the last half- hour was not handled convincingly also. The Final Cut is also let down by the lack of genuine action scenes and the robotic-feel & slow pacing in the story incessantly drags, & without making much impact. Right after Robin Williams's Alan is shot dead, my interest in this movie sank and died further. 

This film never lives up to its promises and as such, it's not one I'd watch again. 


Pros +

- Interesting concept

- Tech effects were good I suppose

- Robin Williams did the best he could

Cons -

- Concept is poorly conceived 

- Unbearably boring & slow

- For a thriller, there were little to no thrills

- Alan Hakman is one of the dullest characters Robin has played 

- One of the worst endings I have seen

- Robin Williams and Mira Sorvino's love scene was not good

Final Verdict:

The Final Cut is supposed to come across as profound and to offer something different to other sci-fi thrillers, but it is far too subtle and it is a bore. A concept and plot that sounds intriguing on paper shouldn't have been conceived in such a dull fashion, which also lacks genuine passion, care and emotion. That, along with the cast, with each and every main member wasted, and an ending, which I deeply disliked, this is on my 'never to watch Robin Williams movies, ever' list. 

Lifeless, not very entertaining or excitable that should largely and rightly remain forgotten as it was when it came out in 2004 and disappeared without a trace. Sadly, it is another one of those bad Robin Williams films and another example where Robin's best movies were mostly from the 1980s and 1990s, and less so from 2003 onwards. 


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