The Final Cut (2004 film)
|The Final Cut|
|Directed by||Omar Naim|
|Produced by||Nick Wechsler|
|Written by||Omar Naim|
|Music by||Brian Tyler|
|Editing by||Dede Allen
|Distributed by||Lions Gate Entertainment|
|Release dates||November 11, 2004|
|Running time||95 minutes|
The Final Cut is a 2004 film written and directed by Omar Naim. It stars Robin Williams, James Caviezel, Mira Sorvino, Mimi Kuzyk, Stephanie Romanov, Genevieve Buechner and Brendan Fletcher. It was produced by Lions Gate Entertainment and filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and in Berlin, Germany. The film featured original music by Brian Tyler. The story takes place in a near future in which people can pay to have their babies implanted with memory chips. These "Zoe Implants", developed by EYE Tech company, record every moment of their lives, so that they may be viewed by loved ones after one's death. The plot centers on Alan Hakman, a "cutter", whose job it is to edit the Zoe footage into a feature-film length piece, called a "Rememory".
The Final Cut is about subjectivity, memory and history; posing the question, "If history is what is written and remembered, then what happens when memories are edited and rewritten?"
We first see the three 'codes' or rules that must be adhered to in relation to a 'Cutter' of memory footage, one of which is, "A cutter must not have a Zoe implant and must not sell memories".
The film opens with Alan Hakman (Williams) as a child, who has recently met and made friends with another child named Louis Hunt. After playing and walking around they enter an abandoned factory. They come to a long wooden plank which forms a narrow bridge over a deep square pit made of concrete. Alan crosses first and then he tells Louis to do it, but Louis is not as confident, halfway across he looks down and starts to fall, jumps to the side but falls to the bottom. In panic, Alan goes down to the floor where he is lying unconscious but doesn't go too close; he sees what he thinks is a huge pool of blood all around Louis's head and finds he is standing in it too. He tries to wipe it from his soles and then runs away. The film advances to Hakman's adult life, portraying him creating two rememories from Zoe implants. It is revealed that Hakman is a very skilful cutter whose edits can make "saints out of criminals", and his services are highly valued by rich and also immoral people; Hakman sees himself doing a good deed, as a sin-eater who removes past crimes from the dead so they can rest in peace. At the screening of a rememory, a former cutter, Fletcher (Caviezel), offers Hakman $500,000 for the footage he recently acquired of Charles Bannister, a former EYE Tech manager. The footage, which reveals that Bannister was sexually abusing his young daughter, would discredit the entire EYE Tech company. However, Hakman refuses to surrender it and feeling himself to be in danger now, he buys a hand gun from a person he knows has sold them previously. Hakman has also located in the Bannister footage a person he believes to be Hunt, whom he'd presumed dead from the fall as a child, and whose death has haunted him with guilt ever since. He sets the "Guillotine", which in the film is the computer used to search, sort and edit ("cut") the Zoe footage, to search for more images of the man and confirm his identity.
Throughout the film are scenes of groups of angry people, opposed to the whole implant/memory recording technology. These people have special and prominent tattoos on their faces, which are made from a special ink which cancels out the zoe transmission link inside the brain.
Hakman with some help from his fellow cutters, break into the EYE Tech headquarters to try and locate Hunt's Zoe footage as a second source. Although he does not find Hunt's footage, Hakman makes a shocking discovery. Because his surname also begins with the letter 'H' he discovers a file under his own name. He realizes that he himself has a Zoe implant, violating the cutter's code that no cutter may have one. He did not know he had an implant because both of his parents had died suddenly when he was young and he was never told.
In his distress after the discovery that he is implanted, Hakman brings his lover Delila (Sorvino) into his apartment, and leaves her alone with his Guillotine. He immediately undergoes the first stage of the specialized tattooing procedure to end the implant's ability to record audio, he has to wait a week later to get a second tattoo that will block the video transmissions. When he returns he puts bullets in his firearm under the belief that Fletcher and his associate have broken into his apartment to steal the Bannister footage. Instead, he finds his friend Delila poring over the full Zoe footage of her late boyfriend. Hakman apparently has kept the footage and has vicariously used it to fill in what's lacking in his life, experiencing their relationship in all its passion and perhaps turning it into the basis for all the feelings he has for her. Delila becomes angry that her private memory with her boyfriend is used in such a manner and shoots the Guillotine. The bullet hits the Bannister card, destroying its footage.
When Fletcher and his associate finally break in to steal the Bannister footage, they cannot find it as Hakman has taken it and tried to have it repaired. Hakman lies to Bannister's wife, telling her that the Guillotine destroyed it which could sometimes happen. She feigns disappointment but it is clear she is glad about this because she knew about her husband's sexual abuse of her daughter and now she thinks this record has been permanently destroyed. Hakman asks his colleagues to help him look into his own memories, which is very dangerous while the implant is still in the living person (usually removed after they are dead). But they agree, giving him only 5 minutes to look for what he was wanting. He goes back to the memory of the warehouse fall and sees that Hunt did not in fact die when he fell, and the pool of what he thought was blood was actually a spilt can of red paint. He now feels greatly relieved and absolved of decades of guilt. Hakman visits Hunt's grave but is followed by Fletcher, who reveals he has a gun; he tells Hakman he has discovered through the tattoo parlour that Hakman has an implant and that it recorded the critical images from the Bannister footage which he desperately wants so he can discredit EYE Tech. Foregoing the biopsy procedure, Fletcher chases Hakman through the graveyard filled with video tombstones, eventually catching up to Hakman but then hesitating to shoot him. Fletcher's associate, having concealed his presence during the chase between Hakman and Fletcher, then shoots Hakman in the back, killing him.
In the last shot of the movie, Fletcher watches the video playback, Alan Hakman looks at himself in a mirror through his own eyes. But when he looks away and walks off, the camera keeps watching the empty mirror instead of watching what he sees. What this scene meant or suggested only Omar Naim knows.
- Robin Williams as Alan Hakman
- Mira Sorvino as Delila
- James Caviezel as Fletcher
- Mimi Kuzyk as Thelma
- Stephanie Romanov as Jennifer Bannister
- Thom Bishops as Hasan
- Genevieve Buechner as Isabel Bannister
- Brendan Fletcher as Michael
- Joely Collins as Legz the Tattoo Artist
- Michael St. John Smith as Charles Bannister
- Christopher Britton as Jason Monroe
- List of films featuring surveillance
- Neo-Luddism — a modern movement to oppose technological development.
- Sousveillance — any method of recording oneself (as opposed to surveillance, which is recording the actions of others) including lifelong audiovisual recording
- Video-Enhanced Grave Marker — an idea to make video tombstones (as seen at the end of the film), patented in 2006.