Final (2001)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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A man struggles to prove he isn't insane -- which is no mean feat when you're certain you're been transported 400 years into the future. Anne (Hope Davis) is a psychiatrist working at a hospital for the criminally insane whose latest charge is Bill Tyler (Denis Leary), a man who was recently admitted when he was found inside a wrecked truck found in a quarry. Bill isn't sure just where he is or what's happened to him, but he's certain he's traveled four centuries into the future, and if he can't find a way to get back to the past within 48 hours, assassins will execute him by lethal injection. Anne is bemused by Bill's odd story, but doesn't challenge him on it, instead questioning him in detail about everything he can recall about his past prior to being brought in. As Bill rants about lasers and holographic images, shares his periodic hallucinations, and discusses his feelings about his family and his former girlfriend, he becomes increasingly lucid, and Anne has to figure out how much of Bill's story is fantasy, and how much is fact. Final was written by Bruce McIntosh, who based the script on his own stage play; the feature (shot on digital video) was directed by actor Campbell Scott.
R (adult situations/language)
Drama , Mystery & Suspense , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
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Jim Gaffigan
as Dayton
Jim Hornyak
as Orderly
Maureen Anderman
as Supervisor
Marin Hinkle
as Sherry
Madison Arnold
as Bill's Father
Caroline Kava
as Bill's Mother
Janet Hovious
as Doctor
Nadine Delallo
as Ward Nurse
Steve Dunn
as Larry
Anthony V. Pettine
as Coloring Patient
Eric Gearity
as Puzzle Patient
John Brainard
as VCR Patient
Lisa Leguillou
as Bookstore Clerk
Danny Drohojowski
as Todd's Son
Tina Benko
as Blonde in Bar
Guy Davis
as Singer
Hélène Cardona
as ICU Nurse
Ezra Knight
as Lawyer
Seth Barrish
as Staff Member No. 1
Earl Hindman
as Official
Catherine Brophy
as Staff Member No. 2
Ben Wilson
as Attendant
Nancy Wu
as Dancing Nurse
Alexis Alexanian
as Pushy Nurse
Jody Burke
as Coroner
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Critic Reviews for Final

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (11)

One of the slowest-moving films in a long, long, long while.

Full Review… | January 18, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

A surprisingly effective, off-beat little movie.

January 18, 2002
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

Emerges as engrossing and thought-provoking.

January 17, 2002
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

Shot digitally, Final is less than terrific technically; focus and sound levels waver. Luckily, these flaws are not inconsistent with the film's raw, unvarnished tone.

Full Review… | December 14, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Leary -- and the film itself -- keeps the audience off guard.

Full Review… | December 7, 2001
USA Today
Top Critic

The pace suddenly picks up and the pieces of the puzzle start falling into place for Bill and for the audience.

December 7, 2001
New York Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Final


A character-driven psychological drama/mystery/sci-fi. It moves at deliberately slow place, relying solely on performances to advance the story. Leary and Davis are absolutely superb. Despite the slow pace the movie never gets boring, and the emotional impact in he end was indescribable. Having said that, It feels very much like a stage play (and as I learned later, it is in fact based on a stage play). So if you are looking for an action packed sci-fi with special effects, this movie is not for you.

Gabriel Knight
Gabriel Knight

While I don't regret watching Denis Leary and Hope Davis' stellar performances in this film (not to mention Jim Gaffigan's - why aren't more people remarking what a great job he did), this was a strange experience in that I can't say I enjoyed the film. The acting was amazing. The film itself was depressing and drawn out. The science-fiction aspects of the movie were minimal, even negligible, and the scientific premise itself not worthy of a third-grader (on the level of how, in Isle of Dr. Moreau, they plotted to kill the main character "to get his DNA").

Coyote Osborne
Coyote Osborne

Set Apart From Itself I wonder what it says about me that, as I was watching the credits ([i]of course[/i] I was watching the credits!), I was disappointed to see a scroll go past informing me that "Mr. Leary's guitar solo" was performed by someone else. I'm perfectly aware that not everyone knows how to play an instrument. Honestly, I'm even aware that some people can't be taught to. However, it still kind of saddens me. I mean, Samuel L. Jackson played his own solo in [i]Black Snake Moan[/i]. Richard Gere did his own dancing in [i]Chicago[/i]. (Catherine Zeta-Jones did, too, but she'd had previous training.) Yes, Johnny Depp lip-synched in [i]Cry Baby[/i], but I think John Waters probably thought it was funnier, and Tim Burton didn't let him do it in [i]Sweeney Todd[/i]. I think my feeling here was, "He only had to play for like a minute or two!" Leary is Bill. Bill is shut up in a mental ward. His doctor is Ann (Hope Davis). What Bill knows, and what Ann denies, is that he was part of a cryogenic experiment. He has been frozen for a long time--I think he thinks it's been four hundred years. He doesn't remember much, but he remembers that. Whereas Ann says it's been a week or so that he's been in there, and they just found him after a car accident. He'll be released when he is no longer a danger to himself or others. However, he knows that they're planning to give him a lethal injection. He'll never get out of there alive, and he knows it. Slowly, Ann helps him remember details about his life before he got there, however he got there. Will it turn out it was a suicide attempt? Is he right about where and when and why he is? Or is there something else going on? Denis Leary has never broken out of his twenty-year-old persona as that shouty smoking guy. This, I think, is in part because he didn't take roles like this. But I think part of the problem there might be that he was seldom offered them. I heard him complain on the subject in an interview once. Now, I do think he gave a fine performance in [i]The Ref[/i], but I think [i]The Ref[/i] is a seriously underrated film. The issue there is that there's more to the character than just shouting, though of course he does shout a lot. Here, he hardly ever shouts at all, even in flashback. He rambles a lot, and he says things he shouldn't say, but it's all in a very quiet way. He interacts with Ann in a determined way, but there isn't much shouting involved. Arguably, what's really going on is despair, which is very different. By limiting the characters shown, the film doesn't have to get more involved about the mental health issues involved. Bill interacts with a few of the other patients once, briefly, but his world is mostly limited to Ann, orderly Dayton (Jim Gaffigan), and Ann's supervisor (Maureen Anderman). No matter who's right, there are good and sensible reasons for it. However, from a storytelling perspective, it also means they don't have to show anyone else's problems. Bill's, after all, are supposed to be ambiguous. If they were straightforward, there wouldn't be much story. As it stands, the movie doesn't ask us to take sides. It doesn't matter to the movie if Bill is right or wrong until relatively late in the proceedings. It's also true that the movie mostly does not distract itself with subplot. On the other hand, I do think we're kind of being cheated from the fact that the movie doesn't have the courage to limit itself even more. The story could arguably have worked better limited to just one room. For starters, there are a few scenes which, while showing us in a pretty jarring way what the true of the situation is, kind of distract from everything else. Okay, yes, the flashbacks couldn't take place in there, though the combination of hallucination, memory, and reality works very well indeed. Still, I'm not sure there's any reason for Ann to be seen anywhere but in the confines of that really quite spacious room, as hospital rooms go. Indeed, that could have made the contrast all the more striking. Though I'll admit the Connecticut November is lovely.

Edith Nelson
Edith Nelson

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