Final Cut premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
The 2017 Japanese zombie comedy One Cut of the Dead is so specific, in structure and execution, that the existence of a cross-cultural remake leads to a head-scratching query: What could The Artist director Michel Hazanavicius possibly do with the concept, other than “the exact same thing, but in French”? As it turns out, Final Cut offers up a surprisingly straightforward answer in its opening minutes. Ueda Shin’ichirō’s original is a self-reflexive take on a horror sub-genre well past its prime, and while the new film is equally so, it also adds an additional layer of self-awareness about its status as a remake. Neither film has anything particularly interesting to say about its chosen subject matter, but both versions prove to be light, enjoyable, and — in their best moments — downright hysterical. However, what is perhaps most surprising about Final Cut is that it’s one of the few modern remakes unequivocally enhanced by having watched the film on which it’s based.
To talk about the new version is to talk about them both, but in the interest of those who haven’t yet seen One Cut of the Dead, details that could be considered spoilers will be largely avoided. After all, Hazanavicius’s update — originally titled Z (comme Z) in French, later changed to Coupez! (or Cut!) — is a beat-for-beat re-creation of a film that switches gears a third of the way through, via a narrative and tonal rug-pull that makes for a delightful discovery. However, the nature of this shift may not be difficult to decipher this time around, since the remake also assumes the audience’s familiarity with the concept, so it begins to tip its hand much more overtly.
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