Bill wakes up from a coma in a hospital ward, raving about tissue regeneration experiments, final injections, organ transplants and having been cryogenically frozen. Battling flashbacks of his father's death and a car crash, occasional hallucinations and fits of rage he tries to piece together his own history with the help of Ann, a lonely medical psychologist sent in to evaluate whether he should be released.
Directed by: Campbell Scott
. Starring: Denis Leary
, Hope Davis
, J.C. MacKenzie
, Jim Gaffigan
, Jim Hornyak
, Maureen Anderman
, Marin Hinkle
, Madison Arnold
, Caroline Kava
, Mary Diveny
, Janet Hovious
, Nadine Delallo
, Bruce McIntosh
. Music by: Guy Davis
I was a bit apprehensive to watch this, even though Dennis Leary and Hope Davis are in this, both of whom are great actors. Also, I've never been a huge Hope Davis fan, she tends to play unsympathetic characters a little too well (Secret Lives of Dentist and About Schmidt) and the idea of Leary in a serious role puzzled me, but I gave it the benefit of the doubt, probably because it was Leary in a serious role, which is an intriguing idea. I took a gamble, despite the ultra-cheap look, and I am very happy that I did watch it.
The ultra-low budget is exactly why this film is not for everyone, it is solely driven by dialogue. it is very clearly a low-budget film, chances are that either Davis and Leary did it without a paycheck or they spent their whole budget to get them. If that idea is off-putting to you, steer clear. Even though the budget is next to nothing, and you can tell, the script is beyond great and the acting is absolutely perfect, especially the interplay by Davis and Leary, which is the heart of the film.
It is hard to talk about the film without giving anything away, so I will say nothing about the actual plot. Only that it develops slowly and is purely dialogue driven, much like a play, but it is not a stagey film. The film is almost a mystery, you just don't know where it is going to take it and it keeps you guessing. Yet, it is also very much a romance and on an intellectual level, sci-fi as well, but only in the most cerebral sense. There are no laser fights, outerspaceintergalactic travel, space ships, or aliens, and it reveals itself very slowly.
There is very little action, most of everything happens in one room, though there are a number of "flashback" scenes which take place out of the room. I have seen low-budget films that were overly ambitious in their execution for their budget("Lo" or even "Ink" comes to mind), and suffer a bit for it, "Final" does not have those problems, in fact, were it to be hampered down with a bigger budget, I get the feeling it would have actually encumbered the production and possibly hurt the end result.
The only downside is it makes it less likely to appeal to anyone who doesn't like offbeat films that are not at all mainstream, even though the story is as good as any well-made big budget film, the cheap look does not help it in the ratings department I am certain, I think that is probably the primary reason why it is not rated higher, and I think given this film cost a good deal more than "Primer", yet has a somewhat cheaper look, doesn't help it either.
The acting, story, characters, and writing is all very well done, the quality of the look, which is a result of sloppy post production, does hurt this film, though the cinematography and sound is competent, and does it's job. The music is ver playful and a lot of fun, and certainly adds a lot to this movie, it is one of my favorite aspects of the film. It is easy to say that if you enjoyed movies such as "Primer" or "Ink" which do pretty well with their tiny budget, or you are just tired of films that have no story or substance, this is a movie that is well-worth a watch, if that is not you, please do us a favor and do not watch or rate this film.
Review by lyrafowlpotter from the Internet Movie Database.