‘Final Cut’ is a contemporary French zombie movie with a twist so committed it threatens to derail the film before its even started!
The film opens with a small film crew in a frictional exchange at the climax of their latest zombie movie. The director appears to have lost the plot, making unrealistic demands and berating his actors as they fail to enact his intended vision; even going as far as to assault them on account of their ailing performances! Even when the scenes are shot, nothing makes much sense. The film itself is comical, there are unexplained sequences within the performances and bizarre monologues critiquing everything from capitalism to consumerism; and then there are all the French actors with Japanese names… Needless to say the cast revolt and the film reaches a scrappy finale…; and then of course there is a ‘real’ living dead outbreak that occurs almost on cue.
To be honest I thought this opening effort was a poor attempt at an indie horror comedy and I was genuinely wondering how the movie was genuinely going to sustain itself for the remainder of its runtime, then 20 minutes in, as the opening movie ends, ‘Final Cut’ truly begins, and all is explained.
And it’s great!
It’s quite a difficult film to review without giving its ‘reveal away’, it’s not even a typical plot reveal style of twist, but it does not only contextualise the films opener, but on a second watch you even appreciate it even more.
‘Final Cut’ (a remake of a Japanese film entitled ‘One Cut of the Dead’) is ultimately a story about character, and within telling of its full story, it offers not only an interesting insight into low budget film making, but also offers a cynical look at the industry, all whilst telling an authentically heart-warming story of its own.
The film is very meta-fictionally heavy, with the film being at times a cascading head scratcher of a farce. There’s plenty of opportunity for some wildly comic scenarios where actors acting within scenes, within scenes are forced to improv, others who are struggling within the film to keep up with the sequences of events even within its meandering plot(s). Its further credit that this film within film, within film affair us, the audience, is never left asking what’s going on.
As a horror film, the film, and film within the film is clearly going for a slapstick splatter effect, with zero budget practical effects offering up some really humorous moments of lo-fi-gore, and plenty of opportunity for the cast to get covered in plenty of splatter and grue.
But I’d have to say, its more of a movie about making movies, than it is a horror movie in its own rights.
Overall, Michel Hazanavicius’s ‘Final Cut’ is a really great time. It’s presented at a number of big genre festivals to much acclaim, and I humbly offer my recommendation to that list. It’s clever, funny and has plenty of love for low budget movies – warts and all.