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Film / The Final Cut

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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. Alan Hackman (Williams), a professional who specializes in editing the memories of unsavory people into uncritical memorials that are played at funerals.

This film provides examples of the following tropes:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Outside of the implants and the tattoos to disable them the tech is on par with 2004 technology.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Alan dies and due to Bannister's implant being damaged, he gets away with his crimes. However, Fletcher gets a hold of Alan's implant, which have enough evidence of Bannister's misdeeds.
  • Conviction by Contradiction: Alan concludes that a man he sees in a recording is someone he met years earlier when they were boys because he cleans his glasses on his shirt. Most people who wear glasses will clean them on their shirt if a more suitable cloth is not available.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: As a child, Alan met a boy named Louis, whom he witnessed fall from a high point while exploring an abandoned factory. His death is what motivates Alan to become a cutter, believing he was justified in doing whatever was necessary to edit unpleasant memories.
  • Dark Secret: At some point, Alan learns that he himself received an implant.
  • Demoted Memories: The film opens with Alan's memory of him causing Louis to fall to his death when they were both kids, but when going through the memories of Charles Bannister, he finds a man who looks like Louis. Cue Alan's frantic search for the truth about his memories.
  • Memory Jar: Babies can get a special implant that will record their entire lives so that loved ones can see them after the individual's death. Alan's job is to cut and edit these memories into a film so that only the best memories are seen.
  • Rape as Drama: One of the first people we see Alan working on. His wife tells him that "my husband was a good man." In his recorded memories, Alan sees him dragging a woman into a closet and raping her. He nonchalantly cuts this memory out, as it is hardly the sort of thing a family looking to celebrate "a good man" would want to see.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Fletcher has no problem either talking people in to breaking the Cutter's Code, or the law, or doing either himself, if it means doing the right thing.
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: The main character, a "cutter" who edits the recorded memories of the deceased for their families, is named Alan Hackman.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Alan's girlfriend reacts poorly upon finding he had a hold of her implant, resulting in her thrashing his memory viewer and Bannister's implant getting destroyed.
  • What You Are in the Dark: One of the film's central themes. The people who have these implants have every second of their lives recorded. . . but the only people who can view these recordings are the sworn-to-secrecy cutters. They get to see all the things these people do, even when they think no one else is watching, and cut out elements that won't play well as a memorial video. Even the opposition to the implants is based on this, more or less: how might you act different in front of someone if they might be recording everything you say and do to them? How might you act differently if you know someone, no matter how strictly they are forbidden from speaking of it, is going to watch your life from beginning to end? How is a person's right to privacy affected by people who might be videotaping them constantly, even if they aren't aware of it?