Final

 
Laura Clifford 
Robin Clifford 

Bill (Denis Leary) wakes up one morning to discover himself locked in a psychiatric ward.  Although his memory is gone, he's convinced he's going to be given a final injection within 48 hours.  His doctor, Anne (Hope Davis, "Hearts in Atlantis"), remains calm while he rants, trying to help him piece together his memory from dream fragments.  Although she assures him he'll be released when he regains his orientation, Bill is sure he's not delusional and that Anne's agenda is not what she claims in "Final."

Laura:
Director Campbell Scott ("Big Night") takes Bruce McIntosh' screenplay and attempts to create a futuristically sterile jigsaw puzzle.  While the film's final payoff works, the torturous route there doesn't make the journey worthwhile.

Denis Leary does his best to portray an anguished, paranoid man rebuilding his identity from unreliable fragments.  While memories of a car accident point to drug and alcohol dependencies, his ability with words and a guitar establish him as a musician.

Hope Davis, a taste I've never acquired, (with the major exception of her performance in "Hearts in Atlantis") doesn't give Leary anything to grab onto for far too long, however.  While it could be argued that stoicism should be Anne's initial reaction to Bill, Davis' monotonous delivery disengages the viewer entirely.  She begins to show character shadings during the film's climax, but shuts down again for its coda.

Scott shoots this one man show in the confines of an ugly, institutional yellow room with static direction.  While the idea behind "Final" is a good one, eighty minutes of tedium is too much to ask for its revelation.  Still, "Final" gets points for the thoughts it provokes after its conclusion.

C

Robin:
A man (Denis Leary) finds himself as an inmate at a mental hospital. He has no memory of his past and only fleeting glimpses of the time he was found in a gravel quarry, hypothermic and bleeding by the side of a vintage 1953 Ford F-100 pickup truck. Institutional psychiatrist Ann Johnson (Hope Davis) is assigned his case and she must delve into his amnesiac mind in Campbell Scott's directorial debut, "Final."

For fully one hour and 20 minutes "Final" is little more than a bunch of psycho babble between Leary's Bill Scott and Dr. Anne. You are left, during this extended sequence, to decide what is sanity and insanity; what is the truth about Bill; what happened before the gravel pit; and, not much else besides Bill moving between ranting and being withdrawn. Then, the surprise twist is unleashed and we are dumped into a futuristic tale of government conspiracy, epidemics and cryogenics.

I was, to say the least, less than thrilled with the unbalanced machinations of "Final." Helmer Scott is apparently enamored with the surprise finales of such films as "The Sixth Sense" and "The Others" and tries to duplicate the startling twists these other films so nicely handled. But, in this case, the director does not have the deft turn of hand to keep us interested until he is ready to spring the stunner on us.

I make it a rule to never walk out on a film but the first hour plus of "Final" nearly drove me to break my own rule. The inventive, conspiracy-laden ending makes me not regret playing by my rules, but it is all too little too late and not enough to save the film. I give it a C-.

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