running time 85 mins
Production company: Fugitive Features
from left: Jude Law, Sadie Frost, Ray Winstone
written, directed and produced by Dominic Anciano & Ray Burdis
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Adrian Wootton writes the following review at the 1998 London Film Festival website:
At the wake of an actor (Jude Law) who has died in sudden and unexpected circumstances, a group of friends gather around the grieving widow (Sadie Frost) only to find themselves being filmed to conclude a movie the deceased had been working on in the months leading up to his death. To help them understand why she wishes to complete the film, Sadie shows the group earlier footage in which they've been filmed unaware by video cameras hidden around the house (in the living rooms, bedrooms and toilet!) at dinners, parties and so on. The footage of the friends, interspersed with Jude's own to-camera sequences (commenting on what they are watching) turns out to be shocking and often explicit recording of personal conversations, drug taking and sexual encounters. As a result the wake increasingly descends into an absurdly comic, recriminatory and violent debacle as the group confront each other over the truths revealed on video. Final Cut is a wildly outrageous, extremely profane and funny 'false' documentary partially filmed on video, where the actors use their own names and play fictionalised versions of their real personalities. Guaranteed to offend some and intrigue others, Final Cut is an ambitious and entertaining low budget film featuring some of the cream of young British acting talent.
I enjoyed this film more than the reviews it received had led me to believe I would. It's conceit is undeniably pretentious, all the actors using their own names, friends playing friends, lots of improvisation. It must have been fun to make, but rather self-reverential to watch. There was a lot of play on the nature of 'reality' - we were supposed to be watching people taking 'real' drugs, or 'really' going to the toilet, but this is a film, so where they?? The plot itself is so full of holes you could drive a herd of elephants through them. We came out of the film saying to each other "But how....?" and "So why...?"
The quality of the acting is variable, but as usual Ray is on top form. With his hair completely shaved off, the scene where he loses his temper at Holly, one of his female friends, is truly terrifying - expletives pour from his mouth and the air of violence is palpable. Similarly, a sequence where he talks to camera about his friend Jude is very moving. However, the denouement of the film was disappointingly predictable and in line with the type of characters Ray has been playing recently.
On the whole, I would recommend this film as it does have an confessional air about it, plus a voyeur's pleasure in looking in on other people's lives, which kept me hooked despite its shortcomings - Alys
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