1 item from 2004
Yet another entry in this season's "Twilight Zone-d" perception-vs.-reality marathon (see also "K-PAX" and the upcoming "Vanilla Sky" and "A Beautiful Mind"), the Campbell Scott-directed "Final" has Denis Leary playing a confined hospital patient who is convinced that he recently awoke from a cryogenic deep freeze. The results are more lifeless than chilling.
With its contained, clinically sterile environment and extremely limited scene-changing, the production has the feel of an off-off-Broadway two-hander rather than a feature film, and Scott's resolutely purposeful directing style doesn't exactly help matters.
The reality of the situation is that the Lions Gate and Cowboy Pictures release will actually be spending less time in theaters than that which is perceived to have elapsed while sitting through it.
Here we have Leary cracking wise but essentially serious as the sole occupant of a cell-like observation room in a small Connecticut hospital.
He is paid frequent visits by his doctor (Hope Davis), who's having trouble freeing her patient of his persistent disorientation -- namely, that he believes he was cryogenically frozen in 1999 and has awakened several centuries later and is about to be administered a final injection in connection with something involving donor organ packets.
The truth according to Davis, meanwhile, is that Leary crashed his pickup truck and had recently emerged from a coma, but the time was still very much the present.
The two proceed to engage in a laborious game of cat and mouse, and the only element of surprise here is trying to figure out exactly when the so-called surprise twist is going to be revealed.
By the time that moment arrives, Scott, who is the sole occupant of the director's chair here after having shared the credit with others on "Big Night" and "Hamlet", has sedated the viewer into heavy-lidded submission with an overdose of antiseptic atmosphere.
Even his frequent cutaways to glimpses of Leary flashbacks prove to be more annoying than revealing.
More problematic is that while Leary might have a certain light comedic appeal as an actor, he lacks the dramatic depth necessary to pull off the layers of his is-he-or-isn't-he character.
Davis' role, to a lesser extent, could have stood a little more complexity, especially when it appears she is starting to fall for her patient, but those limitations might also be attributed to Bruce McIntosh's one-note scripting.
Tech credits are effectively spare, though composer Guy Davis' highly symbolic solo blues guitar riffs cry out for a little accompaniment.
Lions Gate Films and Cowboy Pictures
The Independent Film Channel
presents an InDigEnt production
in association with Spare Room Prods.
Director: Campbell Scott
Screenwriter: Bruce McIntosh
Executive producers: Jonathan Sehring, Caroline Kaplan, John Sloss
Director of photography: Dan Gillham
Production designer: Chris Shriver
Editor: Andy Keir
Costume designer: Toni Fusco
Music: Guy Davis
Music supervisor: Linda Cohen
Bill: Denis Leary
Ann: Hope Davis
Todd: J.C. MacKenzie
Dayton: Jim Gaffigan
Sherry: Marin Hinkle
Running time -- 111 minutes
No MPAA rating
1 item from 2004