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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Fab but not for everyone

Author: patnet
7 June 2003

Who on earth would enjoy a dark and cynical comedy full of unappealing characters and unpleasant plot twists? .I suppose I would, however unwillingly. Peter O'Toole plays the aging actor/entertainer JJ Curtis, whose fame now revolves around `The Big Prize', the tacky game show he produces and hosts. While trying to make a lucrative deal to air his program in the U.S., the competition rears its ugly head in the form of young Dave Turner, host of a different tacky and truly `shocking' game show (pun intended). Both are willing to play dirty to get the U.S. deal--in fact no tactic is too twisted or drastic for either men--and I promise you a few surprisingly nasty tricks.

Also thrown into the mix is Adrian Lester as the emerging writer (and narrator of this tale) Jonathan Snitch, an interesting surname since he is hired to write JJ Curtis' memoirs. JJ is particularly anxious to get his life story recorded for posterity since he has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer; and lest you think this condition makes his character more sympathetic--think again. Snitch stands out as the only decent character in the cast, and Adrian Lester does a superb job. Adrian Gillen deftly handles the unlikable Dave Turner, and Julia Sawalha (Saffy in the Brit TV series

Absolutely Fabulous) appears as Dave's hapless assistant.

Peter O'Toole, not surprisingly, is Absolutely Fabulous as JJ. The characters may be drawn with a wide brush, but O'Toole somehow finds the subtleties and nuances that make JJ a three-dimensional creature. I honestly think this is an award-deserving performance.

But, this film won't (and didn't) win any awards in America; in fact I wonder if anyone but the 10 of us rating it on this site saw the film. Black humor and a story that defies categorizing ensure a small audience for this quirky movie. But hey, I enjoy watching a movie and being surprised and deliciously horrified. I enjoy wonderful performances in a small but slickly executed production. I like a film that is not so bland that I've forgotten it 10 minutes later. It's not for everyone--but I hope it will find the audience it deserves.

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

O'Toole on great form

Author: andynpeters from Spain
22 September 2005

Obviously made on a low budget, so we have to concentrate on the story & the acting rather than computerised special effects or big Hollywood names. A unique storyline with duelling gameshow hosts and a narrator who is reluctantly writing the biography of one of them.

Well worth a watch, though I felt it strained belief towards the end. O'Toole (as ever) shows what being an actor REALLY means & why the present Hollywood generation are anonymous by comparison with the greats.

You'll remember this film long after you forget Charlies Angels 6 or the latest Jennifer Lopez epic

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Peter O'Toole is the only one reason to watch this film.

Author: junk-monkey ( from Highlands of Scotland
28 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There's only one reason to watch this film, and that's Peter O'Toole. He blows nearly everyone else off the screen and shows what a great actor he truly is. Despite having to share the screen for most of the time with the grand old man, Adrian Lester held the attention and worked well but Aidan Gillen on the other hand just failed to convince as the new upstart bad boy of British television. I just didn't buy him at all. For someone to be in that position so fast he would have just had to have exuded... I don't know... charm? charisma? something! What we get is a one-note petulant whiner. Doesn't work.

The shallow plot has holes you could drive a bus through and the final revelation is so obvious and so well signalled early on in the movie that when it finally comes it falls flat.

It was only half way through I cottoned on it was supposed to be a comedy (serves me right for not reading the back of the box) but it just didn't deliver and no amount of flashy editing could save it.

If you want to see a much better (and genuinely funny) film that explores similar themes take a look at the vastly underrated British film Funny Bones (

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12 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Another Waste Of Lottery Funds

Author: Theo Robertson from Isle Of Bute, Scotland
8 January 2006

The opening credits of THE FINAL CURTAIN rolled and the very first credit stated that this was a film produced by Universal Studios in conjunction with DNA films . I missed the rest of the credits because I was through the kitchen making a cup of tea but when I came back I was struck as to how the film played out because the whole style of the movie screamed " British lottery funding " . How could this be since the movie was financed by an American studio ? We're shown an all too long ex positional sequence complete with voice over showing diverse clips from THE BLACK AND WHITE MINSTRALS and DOCTOR WHO in a movie that uses the technique of a TRAINSPOTTING wannabe . Two things I found out after the film had finished were that THE FINAL CURTAIN was written by TRAINSPOTTING adapter John Hodge and that the movie was indeed funded by the national lottery

This explains a lot because say what you like about Hollywood studios but at least they know what the public want and the public don't want to see a pile of nepotistic crap with zero money making potential . Lottery funding has killed the British film industry in many ways because it has stopped film makers earning their money . The producers get paid therefore they're under no pressure to make a film with any type of national or international appeal . For every 28 DAYS LATER there's ten movies like THE TANGO LESSON and IT WAS AN ACCIDENT and THE SLAB BOYS , films that should be drowned at birth and which this film goer would pay good money NOT to see . Be honest , despite an avalance of British film releases in the last ten years how many do you think are genuinely good movies ?

The story ( If that is the right word ) revolves around the rivalry between two hideously successful game show hosts JJ Curtis and Dave Turner . If you want to understand how unrealistic this scenario is then imagine Chris Tarrant and Chris Evans embarking on a murder campaign against one another . A ridiculous idea for a storyline isn't it ? but not that the producers , screenwriter and director care . You can just imagine them holding their sides laughing as someone is asked to give JJ a circumcision or as someone is electrocuted . Guess what ? I never thought I'd start laughing and I didn't . And by making Curtis and Turner so unlikable there's no empathy for the audience . Having these characters as protagonists means to the audience it's kind of like being Polish during the second world war where you had Hitler to the West and Stalin to the East . No matter who wins the audience will be the loser

I'm actually shocked that people have come on to this page and awarded THE FINAL CURTAIN high marks or the fact that 115 voters have given it an average rating of 5.8 when a more realistic score would be in the region of half that because this is a fairly terrible film made by people who are far too lazy to make anything resembling a half way decent one

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

The potential and the finer moments are lost behind a plot that gets more excessive and messy as it goes on

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
2 April 2006

When J.J. Curtis got his break in show business (as a result of the headliner being crippled after a fall) he got a shot on his own gameshow, The Big Prize. The show was mostly ignored by the critics apart from those that derided it for its blatant promotion of greed but, of course, is watched by millions and millions of families around the UK. Diagnosed with brain cancer, Curtis decides to ignore the condition and employs award winner new author Jonathan Snitch to write the story of his life. Curtis accepts and becomes a witness in Curtis' descent as he gets drawn into a ratings war with the younger and crueler presenter Dave Turner.

It is easy to see the potential in this film because it is darkly comic, interesting and attempts to hit targets within the world of celebrity and the media. However it is also hard to ignore the fact that it fails to do it in a totally convincing manner – indeed the excesses within the script mean that the subtleties and intelligence is rather overwhelmed with the noise. It is a shame because behind the story of a ratings war going to absurd extents, this is a great little piece about the nature of celebrity and, more importantly, how that world has had its toll on Curtis. This produces great little moments of pain and character that made this film just about work for me although I must admit that a lot of it came from the skill of the actors rather than the material. Sadly the main story that acts as a frame for all this is delivered in a rather too messy fashion and the excesses put me off just as the smaller touches drew me in; I would have liked the ratings war to be less about murder etc but more in Curtis' head – it wouldn't have damaged the dark comedy (because it wasn't funny anyway) but it would have avoided the mess.

Like I said though, the cast are a big part of the smaller moments coming through because they are mostly good. O'Toole gives a great performance; he hams it a bit on the excesses but he never loses touch with his character and thus is always there for the better moments. Like another reviewer has said, to me it was an award-winning performance and would have been if it had been in a less messy film. Gillen goes the same road but has less to do beyond the excess, although he manages well enough. Lester is a really good actor and shows class here but he has very little to work with other than being a good narrator. The support cast features many famous faces such as Sawalha, Brown, Robertson, Williams and a few others but really it is O'Toole's to dominate and he does (mostly in a good way).

Sadly though the total film is not that good even if the potential does become apparent in a handful of scenes where the finer detail shines through. The excessive nature of the story tends to dominate the character side and it is to the film's detriment because it makes it noisy, messy and unconvincing. The cast try to fight this and occasionally win but the overall impression is one of messy excess and, although I liked part of it, I completely understand why this film wasn't seen by many people and that those that did, didn't like it that much.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Peter O'Toole is still the best actor in the world

Author: CinefanR
24 March 2012

Peter O'Toole may be the only reason to watch "The Final Curtain", and it's of course a fabulous performance, although he is not given much to work with. The main problem here is that all the other actors are painfully bad and the script doesn't have the spark of "Trainspotting". All these young actors simply lack the charm and the talent to stand up to O'Toole, so their characters are utterly unconvincing and clichéd.

It's a shame when you look at it because you can't help but feel that Peter O'Toole's enormous talent is not being used properly. The movie's good intentions are noted, but the satire is pretty thin under this undistinguished direction, and there are clumsy plot holes throughout. I don't mean to say that this is a bad movie, but it could have been much better. Watch it for Peter's multi-layered performance, there's nothing like it.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Bitter Dark Comedy

Author: Robert J. Maxwell ( from Deming, New Mexico, USA
30 August 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It seems awfully redundant to have to say that Peter O'Toole is good, but the truth is that he really is. He and Adrian Lester as the writer hired to do O'Toole's own version of his autobiography provide the most memorable characters.

There are a couple of funny ideas in this movie. The very notion of a game show in which a young man and his girl friend can win varying amounts of money depending on the intensity of the electric chock he's willing to give her is funny in itself. And the way the scene is shot, it's even funny when the damme machine goes berserk and electrocutes the young man in a shower of sparks.

I also enjoyed the smarmy American impressarios who are considering buying either O'Toole's show or that of his rival. We hear this smooth American-tinted voice only over a conference phone, saying things like, "Now, now. I didn't say we weren't going to buy your show. I said we were going to keep in touch. And when I say keep in touch I mean keep in touch. So let's keep in touch."

O'Toole seems much older than the last time I saw him in a film. Even his strikingly blue irises have faded with time. No criticism of O'Toole is meant -- we all have our life courses to bear -- but it is kind of sad. Adrian Lester is outstanding too, as I said. He's a handsome guy and plays the intense straight-shooter very well here, as he did in "Primary Colors."

The movie would have been more successful if it had settled for being an amusing comedy with dark undertones. Instead it's a bitter tragedy with a few funny moments thrown in. In the end, a dead father lies on the lawn facing his dead son. They'd only discovered their relationship just before they died. It's too sad and the image drowns out the memory of antyhing amusing that might have preceded it. Give me a doomsday device destroying the planet while conniving politicians figure out how they can survive at everyone else's expense.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Another US viewer

Author: vldazzle from United States
22 June 2006

As I saw in the last review I read, not many in this country have even seen it, But I viewed it today on cable and thought it was worth some thumbs up on my TiVo. It was of a class with O'Toole's "The Ruling Class" and (tho' he's aged much since that) shows that he still has a flair for the slightly sick comedy that many of us love. All I can say is I'm happy for digital cable with all the choices and TiVo for finding things that I enjoy. None of the other actors were known to me and I did not recognize the gal from "AB-FAB" but overall, it was a fun movie to watch. Much better than the "lesson" movies that Hollywood has chosen to give us in recent years. I am happy to confine my movie viewing to those of vintage (30's and 40s), foreign (even with subtitles) and the offerings of IFC and Sundance.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Marvelous Film

Author: mclark-17 from St. Petersburg, Florida, USA
16 February 2006

I recently watched this film on the Sundance channel, and it was wonderful. The performances were great, and it was especially enjoyable to watch Peter O'Toole. I think he gave one of his best contemporary performances in this film. You can tell he is still a master at his craft. This is a great film to watch on a rainy afternoon - great story, great cast. This film is wonderful and it gives you a glimpse into the dark world of show business - the shrewdness, the sometimes shady dealings that get people where they are in the industry. The tale the film tells is well woven and well told. I would recommend this film for younger audiences (18+) who maybe have not seen some of Peter O'Toole's older films. I think it is a great way for them to see a true master who is still at the top of his craft even though he is in the autumn of his years. A great film!

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Good performances, probably not a repeater

Author: nathomsen from United States
16 June 2003

The performances and the production values are high quality. I watched the movie on cable TV. I found myself engaged in the story line, the dialogue and the plot. But, near the end, it was clear where the plot was going before it actually got there. This, plus the unredeemming qualities of the main character, lead me to place it on my personal not-worth-watching-again list.

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