Final Cut Review

Following the cult-ish success of their BBC2 comedy series Operation Good Guys, creators Ray Burdis and Dominic Anciano decided upon a move towards feature production. The result was 1998’s Final Cut, a film which, like their later gangster flick Love, Honour & Obey, plays out like a self-indulgent home movie. The case is made up of various buddies – amongst them Jude Law, Sadie Frost and Ray Winstone – and the atmosphere is one of loose plotting and heavy improvisation. Indeed, the whole thing makes a virtue of home movie technology: supposedly Jude (Law, playing a variation upon himself, as does everyone) has planted a series of hidden cameras in his house so that he may capture the unsavoury activities of his friends. The central concept is that he has recently died – murdered, in fact – and the assembled footage, which we the audience see, is played to his guests at the wake.

Using the words of the actors, the results are, apparently, “cutting edge... real-life”. But this patently isn’t true. Rather, what we see is smug and self-satisfied, a series of thin sketches which the makers perhaps find satisfying or even transgressive – they reinvent themselves as prostitute-visiting, coke-snorting idiots, whilst their co-stars swap tales of sexual debauchery and the like – but to anyone outside their little circle it’s quite frankly incredibly dull. There’s no pace or energy, no narrative drive behind a final, laughable unmasking of the killer in the final act (it really is as trite as that sounds) and no sense of character beyond one-dimensions and easy options. Indeed, it’s only the better known actors – ie, those such as Law or Winstone upon whom we can draw from past roles and associations – who make even the slightest impact and this just goes to show how indulgent the whole thing is. Furthermore, it makes you wonder just how Final Cut managed to earn itself a cinema release or – even more remarkable – a second DVD edition in the UK, as is the case here!

The Disc

A single-layered disc, no subtitles and Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, Infinity are hardly pulling out the stops for this particular release of Final Cut. The presentation is decent at best, though given its “home movie” origins, it’s difficult to ascertain as to where any image flaws arise from. Ultimately, it’s all quite serviceable and watchable throughout, though never once are we asked to be impressed. The soundtrack, the picture quality – it’s all just merely okay.

That said, Infinity have provided a number of extras which should attract what few fans the film has. Ray Burdis provides a feature-length commentary made up, generally, of little snippets of information and brief anecdotes, whilst his co-star, co-writer and co-director Dominic Anciano appears for a 19-minute interview. Between the two of them, there is quite a bit of repetition, though both do seem eager to recount the film’s origins and its production. Rounding off the package we also find the original teaser trailer.

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