Michael Hazanavicius has established a name for himself in the film industry as a director thanks to the James Bond parody franchise OSS 117. He then went on to direct The Artist, which was awarded the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2011, demonstrating that he has a flair for the bizarre. His eighth feature film, titled Final Cut (Coupez! ), is a zombie comedy about the filmmaking process, and it sees him back to a blend of the genres that he enjoys the most.
In this adaptation of Shinichiro Ueda’s 2017 triumph in Japan, Hazanavicius employs some elements from the original film while also reuniting with his frequent companion, actor and wife Berenice Bejo. Shinichiro Ueda’s original film was released in 2017.
After the Sundance Film Festival went virtual, director Michel Hazanavicius postponed the debut of his comedy Final Cut until he could show it to an actual audience. Given the film’s potential audience appeal and the fact that the premiere of his most successful film, The Artist, took place at Cannes, he appears to have made the right choice. This gem is perfect for cineastes who appreciate mockumentaries on the film industry or zombie comedies.
Before the film’s satisfying third act, which almost makes the first seventy-five minutes worthwhile, the audience must have a certain amount of patience, just as they had to in the original, in order to get through the first two thirds of the film, which feature hokey slapstick and commentary about the sacrifices of filmmaking. This is necessary in order to get to the film’s satisfying third act, which is released at the end of the movie. However, this is not the case.
It’s understandable if viewers who adored the original aren’t completely sold on this one, but it’s hard not to sit back and enjoy the chaos. The cast is outstanding throughout, including the middle half. Romain Duris, who plays director Remi, is amazing to watch as the tension and fear force him to become even more inventive.
As the young, enraged, and ambitious actor who wants to create a name for himself but also thinks this is a touch beneath him, Finnegan Oldfield (the next French Adam Driver) is another highlight. The dialogue in his works is always something he wants to alter so that it has more significance for him. The other two stars, Mathilda Lutz and Bérénice Bejo, more than hold their own, especially in the last act when they start to lose control in an effort to wrap the shoot on time.
For those who have watched One Cut, I think this film’s first act is somewhat superior; you can see it has a good cast straight away and enjoy the actors’ chemistry, rather than just sort of groaning at how this film within a film is kind of awful. However, it’s very obvious from the beginning that something is up because of all the French characters with Japanese names, so the twists and turns that come later don’t have the same impact.
The second half of the film is arguably its strongest, even if writer/director Michel Hazanavicius has some difficulties giving his cast a substantial amount of material to work with. At its core, the tale is quite straightforward, although there are a few points near the conclusion when the payoff doesn’t quite make sense.
Final Cut Fact
The film is a remake for Japanese horror comedy One Cut of the Dead (2017)
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