Just as he was once familiar for playing funnymen, Robin Williams is now earning a reputation for more sinister roles. Alan Hakman is no exception – he’s a dark loner whose job it is to “edit” other people’s lives. He interviews families, takes notes, and reviews decades worth of footage on a computer (aptly called “the Guillotine”) in order to create a short video compilation of memories for the funeral service. But Hakman, notorious for numbly dealing with the more gruesome and immoral lives, is haunted by a childhood mistake of his own that shows up in a client’s footage.
The Final Cut is a science-fiction drama with a strong political undercurrent as anti-chip protestors who believe constant recording violates privacy rights. It takes awhile for this important subplot to properly develop and indeed the film branches out in several different directions before coming back to a fitting but surprising ending. The concepts may be complicate and detailed, but to first-time writer-director Omar Naim’s credit, The Final Cut is never difficult to follow.
Meanwhile, Williams plays Hakman so hauntingly that there’s a chance you’ll never associate him with Mork and Mrs. Doubtfire again.