Final Cut

Year: 2004
Director: Omar Naim
Writer: Omar Naim
Cast: Robin Williams, Mira Sorvino, James Caviezel
Taking cues from low-key quiet and well thought out science fiction (highly stylised without the clanking space age machinery and huge computers) like Gattaca and Minority Report comes one of the best films of the year and close to the most thought provoking.

Robin Williams is Alan, a 'cutter' in the near future, a specialist type of filmmaker who takes the electronic implants from the brains of deceased people and uses their own recorded memories to create living eulogies of them for funerals - also covering up the parts of our loved ones' lives we'd rather not know.

When he takes on the job of cutting the last rites of an executive, Alan is given clues to his own childhood, one that contains a nasty memory he's been running away from his whole life when he was playing with another kid and (so he thinks) gets him killed.

When he discovers he himself is the owner of one of the controversial chips, Alan can finally try to discover the truth about himself.

Surrounding him are his bookstore clerk lover (Sorvino), in a relationship that never really develops, and former colleague James Caviezel, now a militant anti-implant crusader who wants to footage from the executive's corrupt life with which to implicate the implant company in his crimes and bring the whole system down.

As cleverly devised as the story is the design and tone of the film. A man working in the near future on a computer that sifts through a lifetime of video taken straight from a cranial implant could have gone any number of ways - in more studio-influenced hands they could have been wearing silver suits and been surrounded by flashing lights, but the cutting machine is a huge ornate desk-like device with a handful of buttons and a scroller wheel kind of machine, a few large monitors ahead.

It's just one touch that gives it all a Sixth Sense sort of feel, with the colours washed out, in seeming dark even when in the middle of the day, all very sombre and muted. The performances and dialogue are similarly careful, Williams kind of miscast, and the plot doesn't finish in a note as strong as the movie deserves, but it's one of the best (and best looking) ideas to come out of the movies this year.

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