Final Draft DVD Review
Written by Steve Pattee
DVD released by Genius Products
What do I think? I think you need help, brother. – David
Directed by Jonathan Dueck
Written by Darryn Lucio
2007, 89 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on September 18th, 2007
James Van Der Beek as Paul Twist
Darryn Lucio as David Hockin
Jeff Roop as Michael
Adam MacDonald as Jack
Tara Spencer-Nairn as Kate Twist
Deborah Odell as The Agent
Julia Schneider as Casey
Melanie Marden as November
James Binkley as Punchy
Devon Sterling Ferguson as Rusty
Screenwriter Paul Twist (James Van Der Beek – "Dawson's Creek") is having a tough time, lately. Suffering from writer's block and under a deadline, Alex is living every writer's nightmare.
Taking some throwaway advice from his friend, Jack, Paul decides to lock himself in his studio apartment until he finishes the script he's been working on, come hell or high water. To be extra sure he doesn't leave, Paul has Jack lock him in from the outside, taking the keys. Now, Paul is forced to write.
But it doesn't seem like such a good idea when Paul starts hallucinating, and the line between nightmares and reality starts to become blurred.
Here's to hoping the disturbing clown that keeps popping up in Paul's apartment doesn't cross on over and say howdy.
Contrary to the box cover that seems to scream "SCARY CLOWN MOVIE!," Final Draft is not a movie about a maniacal clown gone amuck. The clown, while having an integral part of the story, doesn't have much to do with it. Punchy is a vital part of the film, sure, but he's no more than a tool…a means to an end.
And it's too bad the movie is marketed as it is, with that big clown on the case. The cover suggests it's a horror movie, and people will rent it as such, not only to be disappointed at the lack of a psychotic clown, but also the lack of blood and the lack of scares.
That would be a shame, too, because Draft is a smart, well crafted movie. Director Jonathan Dueck does an interesting job selling Paul's trip into la la land. Early on, when Paul is only mildly hallucinating, it's relatively obvious the things he's witnessing aren't "real." But, as Paul gets closer to his destination, the wall between reality and fantasy just collapses, and Paul crosses right on over. The aforementioned interesting job is Dueck doesn't try to fool you with what's real and what's not. Early on, I thought that was going to be the route he would take. The earlier spells Paul had, while easy to dismiss, were steadily getting harder to read. But, instead of trying to fool the viewer with trickery, Dueck didn't bother to do anything. He just made it clear when Paul finally crossed that bridge over to madness. Here's Paul, here's Paul going crazy, here's crazy Paul.
This is important, because instead of wasting time trying to figure out what's real and what's Paul's reality, you can concentrate on the real issue at hand: Paul's newly found personified inner demons. Is his ex-wife his failure with relationships or family (or both)? Is the ex-best friend his failure at his career or his failure, again, with relationships? Is the high-school bully his failure with confrontation?
The acting across the board is solid, with Van Der Beek doing a sound job of carrying much of the movie. While he does hallucinate people, there are many times Van Der Beek is in that apartment on his own, and when it's a one man show, there's a fine line between entertainment and hurry the hell up, something happen please.
Yet, unfortunately, hurry the hell up, something happen please does creep its nasty little head up on a few occasions. It doesn't hurt the film terribly, but it is there. Fortunately, the script is very good, as well as the directing, so even with those longer segues, you aren't bored much, if at all.
Misleading box cover aside, Draft manages to be uncomfortable not with gore, grue or special effects, but by making you think.
Video and Audio:
Final Draft's widescreen presentation is solid overall, but not free from the occasional softness — one scene in particular borders on muddy.
Its Dolby digital 5.1 soundtrack is better than its video brother, making use of the surrounds on quite a few occasions. As Draft is mostly dialogue driven, this was a pleasant surprised.
English and Spanish subtitles are also available.
- The Making of Final Draft Featurette
- Music Video
The 24 minute featurette consists of interviews with the cast and crew and some behind-the-scenes footage intermingled with scenes from the movie. With just a little too much of the latter. However, while it borders just this side of promontional fluff, the featurette isn't a complete waste.
The music video for "Dr. Blind" is fantastic. Emily Haines' haunting vocals complement the equally haunting music perfectly, and the video only adds to the surrealism of the song.
Also included are trailers for Final Draft, Frostbitten, The Cradle and Alone With Her.
Final Draft is well worth a rental, but you might want to keep it a couple days, as it's definitely a movie that requires more than one viewing.
(Equipment includes a Mitsubishi WS-48613 48” HDTV, OPPO DV-970HD DVD player and Onkyo HTS-770 Home Theater System and, in some cases, a Sony 27” WEGA TV and a Sony DVP-NS50P DVD player.)