Transcendence:***

transcendence-movie-johnny-deppRun Time: 118 mins         Cert: 15

 

Synopsis: When Computer Scientist Will Caster (Depp) is shot by an anti-technology activist group, Caster’s wife and fellow expert Evelyn (Hall) finds a way of uploading his mind into the mainframe of  a computer. Virtual Will aims to aid mankind, but is this still Caster or merely a form of artificial intelligence?

 

 

Director Wally Pfister is usually known as Christopher Nolan’s Cinematographer, however he has decided to make the giant leap and make a feature of his own with mixed results.

 

Johnny Depp seems very one dimensional and uninterested within his performance in the lead role. However his character is a man of science who may have control t his fingertips, but little control of the real world. The only interests he has are his wife and his work and appears to be very isolated. Which leads on to when he becomes one with the machine. his voice becomes more monotone as would be expected from a computer than can not show any emotion.

 

Even although Depp is the lead , the supporting players have more to do, therefore their performances are interesting compared to Castor. Both Rebecca Hall and Paul Bettany are sympathetic in different ways. Hall’s character is consumed with grieve that it clouds her judgement, while Bettany’s character is torn between doing the right thing and trying to help a friend in grieve. We believe in their performances throughout the piece. While Morgan Freeman and Cillian Murphy are wasted in very limited supporting roles, which do not enhance the narrative.

 

Pfister’s direction is beautifully shot with well framed images, which would be expected from a good cinematographer. By emphasising the Biblical elements within the story whether it is v, or raindrops leading to an eventual flood. He also keeps the pace of the narrative going on an even keel.

 

The script by Jack Paglen appeared on the 2012 “Black List” (the best  unproduced screenplays ) may seem like an interesting idea, however the idea has been done before in other forms. Namely in the  camp cheesy film Electric Dreams and has ideas from the classic altered States. The film raises interesting ideas for the first two acts until it becomes an overblown action movie that is more akin to the works of Michael Bay or Len Wiseman. Before bringing things back to the ground for a clever and subtle ending.  At the end it has lost the focus of what the story was trying to say about Humans playing God.

 

Extremely flawed, but is by no means the disaster than has been publicised within the media.

 

Reviewed by Paul Logan

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