Final Cut - New Release Review
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Starring: Romain Duris, Bérénice Bejo, Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Grégory Gadebois, Finnegan Oldfield
Written by: Michel Hazanavicius, Shin'ichirô Ueda, Ryoichi Wada
Produced by: Brahim Chioua, Alain de la Mata, Noémie Devide, Michel Hazanivcius, Vincent Martaval, John Penotti
Cinematography by: Johnathan Ricquebourg
Original Score by: Alexandre Desplat
Things go badly for a small film crew shooting a low budget zombie movie when they are attacked by real zombies.
Ten years ago Michel Hazanavicius won an Academy Award in the Outstanding Achievement in Directing category for 'The Artist', his homage to the Hollywood silent era and all these years later he is still paying homages, but this time to a tiny budgeted Japanese film about a crew of filmmakers making a zombie movie who are then attacked by real life zombies. I won't be talking about 'One Cut for the Dead' in this review but what I will say is that Hazanavicius adds an extra element to this remake which actually kinda references the fact that it's a remake. Are you following?
'Final Cut' or 'Coupez!' as it's known in non-English speaking territories is essentially split into three distinct sections (though not with separate chapters or anything like that) with the first 35 minutes actually showing us the complete zombie film that the crew are making. The second section goes back in time one month earlier to show director Remi Bouillon (Romain Duris) being approached by a Producer to remake a Japanese picture and the countdown towards day one of shooting and the development of the script, hiring of actors and crew. The final section eventually returns to the present but it gives us a behind the scenes look into the problem laden shoot and sort of works as the punchline to a very long winded joke. It sounds a bit mad, and it is believe me, but it's all worth it in the end.
The 30 minute remake is called 'Z' and will be shot in one take and broadcast live on television. This kind of production is initially a laughable idea to Remi, who has been approached because his work is regarded as being "fast, cheap and decent", but he finally caves when he notices that his leading man is an up and coming French actor who is being hailed as the next French Adam Driver. Anyway back to the zombie film. The short production is littered with mistakes, improvisations and a fair amount of looking at the camera but I still wasn't fully aware of what I was watching. That didn't become entirely apparent until the final behind the scenes section which follows each scene and visually explains the films misgivings. The zombie film is hilariously bad and the final segment that shows how the zombie film was made is also hilarious as the director has to try to make it all work.
Film fans who love the original might not quite get on board with this one but it's difficult not to just sit back and enjoy all the madness that unfolds. Even during the slower middle section, the cast are exceptional. They all have their quirks and Romain Duris as Remi the director is just brilliant to watch as the pressure mounts and the panic causes him to become even more creative. Finnegan Oldfield (next French Adam Driver) is another standout as the young, angry and ambitious actor who is hungry to make a name for himself but who also thinks this is a little beneath him. He's constantly asking to change dialogue to find more meaning in his work. Mathilda Lutz and Bérénice Bejo are the other two leads and they more than hold their own, particularly towards the end when they loose control as they try to finish the shoot on time.
There's also a real tender and emotional coming together of the small cast and crew as they struggle to get the last shot and it's a real life reminder that even low budget shoots on so-called "bad" films require intense passion and resolute determination. It's a really sweet and endearing way to end the film after all the blood splattering chaos that came before it.
- Gavin Logan
Signature Entertainment presents 'Final Cut' on Digital Platforms 7th November