The Final Cut (2004) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • Set in a world with memory recording implants, Alan Hakman is a cutter, someone with the power of final edit over people's recorded histories. His latest assignment is one that puts him in danger.

  • The story is set in a world where implanted microchips can record all moments of an individual's life. The chips are removed upon death so the images can be edited into something of a highlight reel for loved ones who want to remember the deceased. Caviezel portrays the leader of the organization that opposes this technology's development.

  • In a near undefined future, people may have a Zoe microchip implanted in their nervous system to permit their families to retrieve the best moments of their memories and watch on video after their deaths. This process is called "Rememory" and Alan H. Hakman (Robin Williams), a man traumatized by an incident in his childhood, is the best cutter of the Eye Tech Corporation. The company is facing groups that oppose to the "Rememory" and the ex-cutter Fletcher (Jim Caviezel) is leading these opponents. When Alan is assigned to prepare the final cut of the memories of the Eye Tech lawyer Charles Bannister, his Zoe chip is disputed by Fletcher. Meanwhile, Alan finds that he has also an implanted microchip, which is against the rules of a cutter.

  • Omar Naim's The Final Cut is startlingly different than a conventional science fiction film. It's a compelling fable that offers a vision of a world where memory implants record all moments of a person's life. Post mortem, these memories are removed and edited by a "Cutter" into a reel depicting the life of the departed for a commemorative ceremony, called a Rememory. Robin Williams' powerful portrayal of Alan Hakman, a troubled "cutter," propels this character driven story that forces us to question the power of our memories and the sanctity of our privacy.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • In this futuristic tale, Alan Hakman (Robin Williams) witnesses the death of his childhood friend who had fallen off a plank of wood in the abandoned building in which they were playing. Flash to the present, and chips called "Zoe" are inserted into the brain at birth and record a person's entire life; when the person dies, the video is edited and shown at the funeral. Video editor ("cutter") Alan Hakman edits the recordings of people's lives according to the wishes of the subject's family, interviewing the person's family members to get an idea of what to look for in the recordings. Of course, in the case of some unscrupulous people, the bad parts are left out, but the entire recording of a person's life is therefore subject to scrutiny. So, in some cases, Hakman was knowingly burying the bad and highlighting the good. As a result, Alan is turned into a cold megalomaniac, but things change when he stumbles across a subject's memory of his friend, who he thought was dead. In searching for a record of his friend's Zoe chip, he finds none, as only 20% of all people have the implants. What he does find is a record of his own implant, of which he was unaware. He goes about accessing the memory, which shows that Alan's friend was still breathing, and the "blood" Alan thought he remembered stepping in as he was leaving the building turned out to be paint. Meantime, the Zoe chip of his subject is destroyed during a confrontation in his office. Confronted by activists who want his subject's life opened to all, Alan attempts to flee because his memory chip recorded what he saw of the subject's life, but is shot and killed by the activist, who justifies his actions, hence Alan was not killed in vain. Mira Sorvino and James Caviezel also star.

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