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Final

The relationship between doctor and patient begins to blur in Final, the directorial debut of actor Campbell Scott (Hamlet, Spring Forward). The movie feels like a stage play because it is one, adapted by Bruce McIntosh. Like some plays adapted to the big screen, Final never quite works. It is a great showcase for Denis Leary's acting talent, otherwise Final drags at times to pace itself for the surprise conclusion. Leary (Lakeboat, Company Man) is Bill, a man who wakes up in a Connecticut hospital. He is disoriented at first, but slowly regains his senses. When he does, he seems even crazier than before.

Anne Johnson (Hope Davis, Joe Gould's Secret, Arlington Road) is Bill's doctor. She believes he needs help and tells him thus. In order for him to be well enough to leave the hospital, he must acknowledge that he has a problem and do something about it. Bill believes that the current time is far in the future, and that shortly people will come to kill him. Because Bill's behavior is initially erratic, it takes awhile for Hope to tease this information from him. As their sessions progress, Bill and Hope feel a closeness that violates the doctor/patient relationship.

Final was shot on digital, giving it a cheap, grainy look. Since most of the film takes place in Bill's hospital room, it also gives the film a sense of claustrophobia and immediateness. Even for digital, it looks a little shoddy, but this serves only to focus more attention on Davis and Leary. Davis' performance is stoic and on the bland side, only because her character needs to maintain a detachment from the patient. Leary's Bill runs the gamut from coherent to maniacal. This is his deepest role to date, and showcases a heretofore unknown depth to his acting ability.

Scott is trying to make the audience wonder whether Bill is truly insane. There are numerous differing flashbacks that offer insight on how Bill came to the hospital. Initially, he has no memory of the event leading up to his hospitalization. Johnson tells him that he was in an automobile accident, but he believes otherwise. The problem is that Scott spends too much time exploring the mental battles between Bill and Johnson. What is initially interesting becomes dull and repetitive. The answer comes only near the end, which is also when Final actually begins to get interesting. It is also when Hope's character begins to emerge from her seeming silence to take a proactive role in the proceedings. Too little too late.

Mongoose Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 51 minutes, Not Rated but contains some language, probably a PG-13 or R.

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