Haunting and Appealing
Starring: Denis Leary & Hope Davis
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Audience: Teenagers & adults
Rating: Not Rated
Runtime: 111 minutes
Distributor: Lion’s Gate Films
Director: Campbell Scott
Executive Producer: Jonathan Sehring, Caroline
Kaplan & John Sloss
Producer: Gary Winick, Alexis Alexanian,
Mary Frances Budig, Steve
Dunn, & Campbell Scott
Writer: Bruce McIntosh
Address Comments To:Tom Ortenberg, President
Lions Gate Releasing
5750 Wilshire Blvd., #501
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Phone: (323) 692-7300
Fax: (323) 692-7373
Much of the story takes place in a rundown hospital room where delusion and reality are very confused. Bill, played by Denis Leary, wakes up disoriented, cold and confused. He seems to remember snatches of scenes of driving to a quarry. He also seems to remember waking up in an operating room where he’s being revived from a cryogenic state.
His doctor, Ann, seems very concerned with his welfare. She is trying to restore his memory. She tells him he’s only been in a coma for a few weeks. She tries to get him to remember the death of his father, which prompted him to get drunk and jump into the quarry. Bill believes that she is just prepping him so that he can be killed and his body parts used for other people. He thinks it’s 500 years later and the hospital is just a gigantic hologram.
Ann clearly starts to become emotionally involved with Bill as he tries to recover his mental equilibrium. Her superior thinks that things are not going fast enough. During her off time, she visits her sister, who suffers from violent nosebleeds. When Bill gets violent, she has two taciturn guards restrain him.
FINAL is a carefully wrought anti-euthanasia movie. It explores the issue of the value of each person’s life balanced by the greater value of society in the eyes of the medical community. The acting and the direction of FINAL are compelling. Bill is extremely real, sometimes obnoxious, sometimes crazed, often lyrical, but with a sense of humor. He is someone the audience would like to get to know. Beneath her clinical façade, Ann, played by Hope Davis, has a compassionate, caring heart. Campbell Scott’s direction makes this small, low budget movie into a much bigger film, in spite of the limited area of movement.
FINAL would stand up well with some of the best TWILIGHT ZONE episodes. The limited setting does have its drawbacks, however. Once in a while, the movie feels staged, but the actors are good enough that they quickly bring us back into the world of the story. Also, there are not the neat gadgets and telltale futuristic items of other science fiction movies. The wall switches, the plumbing fixtures all look like 1999, and there’s little to indicate that Ann and her cohorts are living in the future. (After all, they don’t even wear STAR TREK type uniforms in their off hours.) Therefore, this is a work that requires the audience to suspend their disbelief. The emotion of the story, as well as the acting, helps us to do just that.
FINAL stands in stark contrast to movies like LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER. It has a haunting, appealing, human story, but no glitz or glamour. The key to the movie is revealed in the opening credits. The word God scratched into the paint on the mental hospital windows enlightens everything that follows. Throughout the film, it’s clear, in spite of the cleverness and depth of the writing, where the sympathies of the filmmakers lie. At the end of the screening, one wanted to say, Bravo!
FINAL is a carefully wrought anti-euthanasia movie. The acting and the direction of FINAL are compelling. FINAL would stand up well with some of the best TWILIGHT ZONE episodes. The limited setting and small budget does have its drawbacks. Once in a while, the movie feels staged, but the actors are good enough that they quickly bring us back into the world of the story. All in all, however, FINAL has a haunting, appealing, human story with a positive reference to God