Omar Naim's futuristic science-fiction story generates many mysterious, alluring, and thought-provoking questions about memory, surveillance, and the ethics of personal privacy.
Set in the future, THE FINAL CUT offers a vision of a world where soon-to-be parents agree to let doctors surgically implant memory chips into the brains of their unborn children.
These memory chips are like video cameras with infinite tape stock that comprehensively record the lives of their hosts through the hosts' own eyes--for better or for worse.
When a host dies, a "cutter"--played here by an eerily introspective Robin Williams--receives the memory chip footage from the deceased person's family in order to edit the memories for a palatable funeral screening, called a "re-memory."
But are memories public or private?
Is it fair for a cutter to decide what comprises a host's life story?
And do people behave differently knowing that someone will view their lives, even their most intimate and discreet moments, as a short film?
THE FINAL CUT's use of sharp and furtive handheld camera footage to depict the perspective of memory, set in contrast with the evenly measured cinematography of the rest of the film, constantly foregrounds the medium of film as memory-capturing and memory-making device.
With an understated politic and a tightly wound narrative, this film delivers an open-minded and sophisticated meditation on ethics and technology, guilt and redemption, and the property rights of one's own cerebral cortex.