In The Final Cut, Robin Williams plays a guy named Alan Hakman. This is winking for two reasons. First, in the film's sci-fi high concept, Hakman is a ''cutter,'' a bereavement professional who downloads dead people's memories from a chip in their brains then hacks them into pleasant little home movies to show at their funerals. Second, ''Hakman'' is clearly an homage to Gene Hackman and his work in The Conversation, another chamber thriller about a lonely master of surveillance who, thanks to a dark assignment, starts to snap out of his job-induced torpor.
But while The Conversation is quiet and sinister, The Final Cut is quiet and sleepy. Once again, Williams zealously sits on himself, but this time a little of the Patch Adams sentimentality seeps in: Hakman, with his permanently pinched expression, always looks like he's either just about to murder someone, or just about to cry. If there are decent, human, post–Good Will Hunting roles for the actor somewhere between the manic and the catatonic, Williams hasn't found them.