The Final Cut (2004 film)

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The Final Cut
The Final Cut movie.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byOmar Naim
Produced byNick Wechsler
Written byOmar Naim
StarringRobin Williams
Mira Sorvino
Jim Caviezel
Mimi Kuzyk
Stephanie Romanov
Genevieve Buechner
Brendan Fletcher
Music byBrian Tyler
CinematographyTak Fujimoto
Edited byDede Allen
Robert Brakey
Distributed byLions Gate Entertainment
Release date
  • October 15, 2004 (2004-10-15)[1]
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$3,618,825[2]

The Final Cut is a 2004 science fiction thriller film written and directed by Omar Naim. It stars Robin Williams, Jim Caviezel, Mira Sorvino, Mimi Kuzyk, Stephanie Romanov, Genevieve Buechner and Brendan Fletcher. The film takes place in a setting where memory implants make it possible to record entire lives. Williams plays a professional who specializes in editing the memories of unsavory people into uncritical memorials that are played at funerals.

The film won the award for best screenplay at the Deauville American Film Festival and was nominated for best film at the Sitges Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival.


A brief introduction describes "cutters", who edit the collected memories of the recently dead into feature-length memorials that are viewed by loved ones at funerals. Their code forbids them to mix footage from implants, to have the requisite implant, or to sell memories.

The film opens with Alan Hakman as a child (Casey Dubois). While visiting a city with his parents, he meets another boy, Louis (Liam Ranger), and the two bond as they play together. Louis reluctantly joins Hakman in exploring an abandoned factory, and Hakman crosses a wooden plank suspended high above the ground. Goaded by Hakman, Louis also attempts to cross the plank, but he loses his confidence and falls. Hakman races to the ground and panics when he steps in what he thinks is Louis' blood. Hakman flees the scene and tells no one what happened. Later that day, he leaves the city with his parents.

Years later, the adult Hakman (Robin Williams) has become a skilled cutter who specializes in editing the memories of controversial people into hagiographies. When Fletcher (Jim Caviezel), a former cutter, confronts him at a funeral, Hakman describes himself as a sin-eater, who brings redemption to the immoral. Fletcher offers him $500,000 for the memories of his latest client, wealthy businessman Charles Bannister (Michael St. John Smith), but Hakman refuses. In a later meeting, Fletcher demands the memory recordings so that he can use Bannister, who he suspects was a pedophile, as a scandal to shut down EYE Tech, the implant manufacturer. Hakman again refuses, and, worried for his safety, uses his knowledge from memory tapes to shake down a shady criminal for a pistol.

As Hakman works through Bannister's memories, he encounters a scene that implies that Bannister was molesting his daughter, Isabel (Genevieve Buechner). Hakman wordlessly deletes it and presses on. He eventually comes upon a person that he is convinced must be his childhood friend Louis. Excited, he sets up a meeting with Bannister's family to find out more information. Bannister's wife Jennifer (Stephanie Romanov) is dismissive, but Isabel reveals that the man, recently dead of a car crash, was a teacher named Louis Hunt. Hoping that Hunt had an implant, Hakman organizes a break-in at EYE Tech, but they have no record of Hunt. Instead, Hakman finds a file on himself, which he is surprised to find documents his parents' purchase of an implant for him.

In his distress, Hakman turns to his lover, Delila (Mira Sorvino). At his apartment, he shows her the equipment that he uses to view memories, and he demonstrates surreal footage from a defective implant. He leaves her alone as he seeks help from anti-implant protestors, who have discovered a way to block the implant through specialized body modification. When he returns to find his apartment in disarray, he assumes that Fletcher has broken in; instead, Delila confronts him, having found memory tapes that document her prior relationship. She accuses him of voyeurism and angrily destroys his memory viewer, which results in Bannister's files also being damaged.

Fletcher and his associate finally break in, but they find nothing. Hakman tells Bannister's wife that the erased footage was lost in an accident, and she feigns disappointment, content to let dirty secrets stay hidden. Hakman asks his colleagues to recover live footage from his own implant, a potentially deadly process. They agree, but admonish him that he can never cut memories again; a cutter with an implant is a violation of the "Cutter's code". The resulting memories show Hakman attempted to dissuade Louis from crossing the plank, and stepping in red paint, not blood. Hakman, relieved, visits Hunt's grave but is confronted again by Fletcher, who has learned about Hakman's implant. After chasing Hakman through the graveyard, he hesitates and seems willing to let Hakman go; however, Fletcher's associate kills Hakman.

In the last scene, Fletcher loads Hakman's memories into a viewer and promises to use them for the greater good. As he pages through Hakman's memories, looking for evidence of Bannister's guilt, he sees Hakman watching himself in a mirror, and the memory implant lingers on the scene after Hakman has left.



The Final Cut premiered October 15, 2004. It grossed $548,039 domestically and $3,070,786 internationally.[2] Lionsgate Home Entertainment released it on DVD on March 22, 2005.[3]


The Final Cut received mixed to poor reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 37% of 81 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating was 5.27/10.[4] On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 43 out of 100 based on 22 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[5]

Roger Ebert rated it 3/4 stars and wrote that "the movie never really finds its way out of the dilemmas it has created", but Williams' acting saves it from these issues.[6] Leslie Felperin of Variety wrote that it has "strong visuals" but called it cliched and poorly acted.[7] Stephen Holden of The New York Times wrote that it was poorly edited and features an emotionless performance from Williams.[8] Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times wrote the film fails to deliver on its promising premise.[9] Daniel W. Kelly of DVD Talk rated it 4.5/5 stars and called it "an intriguing, unassuming drama with sci-fi elements that doesn't get bogged down in sci-fi overkill".[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "'Final Cut' goes out digitally". Los Angeles Times. 2004-10-01. Retrieved 2014-03-19.
  2. ^ a b "Final Cut". The Numbers. Retrieved 2014-03-19.
  3. ^ a b Kelly, Daniel W. (2005-03-14). "Final Cut". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2014-03-19.
  4. ^ "The Final Cut (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  5. ^ "The Final Cut". Metacritic. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  6. ^ Ebert, Roger (2004-10-14). "The Final Cut". Retrieved 2014-03-19.
  7. ^ Felperin, Leslie (2004-02-11). "Review: 'The Final Cut'". Variety. Retrieved 2014-03-19.
  8. ^ Holden, Stephen (2004-10-15). "For the Ultimate Obituary, a Machine That Edits Lives". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-03-19.
  9. ^ Thomas, Kevin (2004-10-15). "Tale of well-edited lives could use its own cutter". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-03-19.

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