Cut! is a 2022 French remake of the Japanese film-within-a-film zombie comedy horror hit film One Cut of the Dead (2017). Also known as Final Cut and Coupez!
Written, co-produced and directed by Michel Hazanavicius based on One Cut of the Dead by Shin’ichirô Ueda and Ryoichi Wada. Also produced by Brahim Chioua, Alain de la Mata, Noémie Devide, Florence Gastaud, Vincent Maraval and John Penotti.
The movie stars Romain Duris, Bérénice Bejo, Grégory Gadebois, Finnegan Oldfield, Matilda Lutz and Raphaël Quenard.
Final Cut is a French remake of the acclaimed Japanese zombie film, One Cut of the Dead. And while most critics will probably prefer the Japanese original, it needs to be said that Final Cut is an intriguing and often hilarious remake which is memorable in its own way instead of just being a carbon copy so viewers can easily enjoy both versions without making too many comparisons. It might also surprise you to learn that Final Cut was directed by Oscar-winner Michel Hazanavicius, who also directed The Artist. So at least fans of One Cut of the Dead will know the remake was made in safe hands.
As with the original, Final Cut opens with a full single-take zombie film, which is presented in its entirety. Viewers could actually enjoy the first thirty minutes of Final Cut as an enjoyable zombie movie in its own right, without needing to watch the rest of the picture to find out how it was made. It also must have been a challenge to shoot an extended single-take production under any circumstances yet Hazanavicius clearly managed to pull it off.
Romain Duris stars as Remi, a gifted filmmaker who wastes his talents on shooting cheap commercials starring performers who cannot act to save their lives. When Remi is offered the chance to direct a thirty-minute single-take zombie film, he initially has doubts. But upon learning that his daughter has an obsession with one of the actors involved, he grudgingly accepts the job. After a series of disastrous auditions with a problematic cast (which includes an alcoholic and a snobbish actor who believes he is above starring in a zombie movie), Remi tries his best to make things run smoothly, although everything goes wrong on the day of filming.
This leads to a series of bizarre and amusing scenarios as Remi and his crew are forced to improvise while the camera rolls. The strong performances from the cast also help to make the improvisation situations seem believable and Duris particularly deserves praise for his portrayal of Remi, a character who struggles to remain calm as he gradually begins to lose control. Not only was Remi forced to play one of the lead roles after the original actor failed to show up, but his wife, Ava (played by Bérénice Bejo, who received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for The Artist), was also coerced to play a role after initially planning to work as a make-up artist on the production. Unfortunately, Ava often takes her acting roles far too seriously, and she has a tendency to severely injure her co-stars with her Krav Maga skills. Needless to say, she quickly forgets that she is only acting in a zombie film rather than fighting actual zombies, which no doubt results in her being sent invoices for the medical bills.
Remi’s Japanese executive producers apparently also insisted on the French actors using the original Japanese character names in the script, which created some humorous scenes as the French cast tried to come up with explanations as to why their characters would inexplicably have Japanese names. The Japanese script also contained a number of elements specific to Japanese culture which may not work particularly well for a French audience, but when Remi tried to explain this to his producers, he ended up losing his temper and referencing the attack on Pearl Harbor. He then pathetically begged his interpreter not to translate his outburst, leaving us unsure if we should feel anger or pity. And you would also think the director of The Artist would be above poop jokes, but Final Cut also features a character who suffers from explosive diarrhoea, which resulted in some of the funniest moments in the entire film.
It will no doubt suffer from comparisons to the original, but Final Cut is still an outrageous and engaging comedy which starts off as an entertaining zombie film before giving us a behind-the-scenes look at the production. With strong performances from its cast and plenty of hilarious moments, fans of One Cut of the Dead and newcomers are both in for a great time with Final Cut. After all, who does not love a good poop joke?
David Gelmini, MOVIES and MANIA
” …this remake is itself therefore about a remake, thus adding another metafictional level to the proceedings. The result is something appreciably sillier and more eccentric than the original, with some gags about patronising and stereotypical European attitudes to the Japanese which make it broader still, and sometimes it’s a tiny bit self-conscious in unintentional ways.” 3 out of 5, The Guardian
” …a remake should really try to add something new to the material it already has. And aside from some nods to the original and references to Adam Driver, the film doesn’t do that. It’s fun but isn’t fresh in the slightest, which feels like a missed opportunity. In the end, Final Cut is quite fun.” Loud and Clear
“One Cut of the Dead had its dull stretches, but it got away with a lot more because of its low budget; it compensated for a lack of resources with cleverness. That means that doing a glossy, widescreen cover of it is a fatally flawed idea […] And Hazanavicius, who wrote the screenplay in addition to directing, has barely modified the material, going beat by beat through the sorts of jokes that can really only be funny once.” RogerEbert.com
“Alongside well-paired character actors, Bérénice Bejo […] and Romain Duris win audiences over as an artist couple, who eventually (or rather the other way around) have to take on various roles for this project. It’s not only fans of the genre – and trash – who will wholeheartedly enjoy this love letter to the collaborative craft of filmmaking.” 3 out of 5, The Upcoming
“It’s about as efficient and slick as remakes come, but in upping the budget from $23,000 to somewhere in the millions, the original’s raw appeal has been axed. How can this not end up feeling like a waste of time and money when there’s a better version of the same film out there, and with roughly the same amount of international appeal?” We Love Cinema
Teaser trailer [no English subs]:
Watch the age-restricted trailer with English subtitles on YouTube
Final Cut premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 17, 2022.
Hippodrome d’Évry, Ris-Orangis, Essonne, France
Z (comme Z)