ROUGH CUT

3 Stars
Year Released: 2007
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 86 minutes
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Anyone remember “The Last Broadcast”?

You know, that fantastic cut of film that turned out to look like a documentary that went horribly, horribly wrong that is at least alleged to be the inspiration for “The Blair Witch Project”? Todd Klick and company paid a little attention to that and decided to make one of their own in the form of “Rough Cut”, a movie that proves that imitation just might well be the sincerest form of flattery after all.

And what Klick’s “Rough Cut” sets rolling is the documentary of a movie that steadily spirals out of control, including chicanery, book-cookery, and even murder. The movie, “Through Hike”, is billed as a “classic ghost story” with more than a little sex and death. You know, your standard Class-X indie horror movie fare. And while that’s going on, soon enough, the wife of the director of photography for “Through Hike” dies under extremely suspicious circumstances.

So we get to watch the creation of “Through Hike” slowly but steadily break down through overspending and on-set marital difficulties, and follow that up with the pursuit of a murderer that seems to be a whole lot closer than anyone may have expected.

Which is great, frankly. It’s like a fusion of “CSI” and “Inside the Actor’s Studio”, and that’s not a combination that anyone sees often. There’s always a joy in innovation, and “Rough Cut” provides. Though the farther in you’ll get, the more the whole filmmaking concept–all of the “Through Hike” material–seems largely useless and meaningless. It provides only a peripheral motive for the crimes by the end, and had it all been removed and replaced its absence would not be noticed.

Perhaps the one thing that “Rough Cut” lacks is what “The Last Broadcast” did so abundantly well is the twist ending. “Rough Cut” offers no real surprises in its final minutes–you’ll see the ending coming from about twenty minutes off. Even the movie acknowledges that there are unanswered questions, and when that happens, you know there’s a fairly fundamental flaw going on.

However, redemption for this fatal flaw comes in the discovery, at the end, that this is actually based on a true story. The film will announce, point blank, the fates of the main characters and that both refused to give interviews for the film. Now, unless it’s some kind of hoax, that elevates this sucker to the level of the at-least-partially true, and puts it on its own level.

But still, all things considered, it comes down to a critical point. “Rough Cut” is a rare breed, and though it’s not as good as it could be it’s still pretty solid as it stands. “Rough Cut” will prove to be a cut above.



Posted on February 11, 2008 in Reviews by
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