Final (2001)

Genres - Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Sci-Fi  |   Release Date - Dec 7, 2001 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 115 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Josh Ralske

Campbell Scott (Singles) is better known as an actor than a director. While his first two directorial efforts were notable -- he helmed and starred in a creditable adaptation of +Hamlet for television, and co-directed the entertaining Big Night with fellow thespian Stanley Tucci -- the lackluster and disappointing Final did little to further establish his directing credentials. Final is essentially a two-hander, with fine actors Denis Leary (The Ref) and Hope Davis (Next Stop, Wonderland) doing solid work as unstable mental patient Bill and probing shrink Ann. They play off each other well. Leary is generally an interesting actor to watch. While his solitary scenes capture some of his uniquely manic energy, it's not enough to compensate for the film's sluggish pace. The script by Bruce McIntosh (based on his play) is an interesting effort to incorporate science fiction elements into a low-budget digital video drama with no special effects. It suffers greatly, however, in comparison to Brad Anderson's Happy Accidents, which was also co-produced by IFC Films and released in 2001. Both films deal with seemingly unstable men claiming to be time travelers, and the women who love them. Happy Accidents manages to be enjoyably lighthearted, while Final is somber and plodding. The dull visuals and frequent mundane flashbacks do little to maintain interest. Even with Leary's comedic gifts flashing to the surface occasionally, the film is unnecessarily grim and ugly. Scott's tone is overly portentous, which makes it harder to forgive the script's gaping plot holes. The whole story hinges on a huge plot twist that makes no sense, even in the context of the film. Films that keep the audience guessing are often fun to watch; Final makes watching a chore, and then rewards the audience for its efforts with a depressing and unconvincing conclusion.