Transcendence

"Good"

Transcendence Review


Far too slow-paced to work as a thriller and too shallow to properly challenge us as science fiction, this film is unlikely to please many audience members. That isn't to say that it's unwatchable: it looks terrific, and features a strong cast who are solid in thinly written roles. But the material promises far more than the film delivers.

At the centre is Will (Johnny Depp), an artificial intelligence expert who is attacked by an anti-technology terrorist group. With only weeks to live, his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and his colleague Max (Paul Bettany) upload his consciousness into his computer system, so after he dies he is able to transcend his humanity to solve far-advanced problems. He directs Evelyn to create a vast secret hideout to further develop the work, which progresses for two years until the terrorists, led by Bree (Kate Mara), find them. And now Will's old colleague Joseph (Morgan Freeman) and an FBI agent (Cillian Murphy) have to choose which side they're on.

This is precisely where the script fails: the sides are far too clear from the start. What should be a story packed with moral ambiguity is instead shaped into a straightforward good versus evil drama that betrays screenwriter Jack Paglen's mistrust of technology. And since everything is slanted so sharply, there's nowhere for the story or characters to go. First-time director Wally Pfister (the Oscar-winning Dark Knight cinematographer) makes sure everything look terrific, but everything moves so hesitantly that we feel like we're watching the movie in slow motion. It's as if the film is always on the verge of saying something important, but can never quite get the words out.

The actors do what they can with their uncomplicated characters. Hall finds Evelyn's emotional centre, while Bettany tries his best in the most intriguing role, even if the character refuses to go anywhere interesting. Depp has little to do but gaze sagely from dull head-and-shoulders computer monitors, although he does invest plenty of his trademark tics into Will's physicality. All of the actors seem to be bursting with the potential to play much more complex people grappling with issues that are on the verge of becoming seriously important. But while it's still intriguing, this script is far too quick to fall into an easy formula, hoping we won't notice that it never says anything at all about the big ideas it raises.

Watch 'Transcendence' Trailer



Transcendence

Facts and Figures

Genre: Sci fi/Fantasy

Run time: 119 mins

In Theaters: Friday 18th April 2014

Box Office USA: $23.0M

Budget: $100M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: DMG Entertainment, Alcon Entertainment, Syncopy, Straight Up Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 19%
Fresh: 36 Rotten: 157

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Wally Pfister

Producer: Kate Cohen, , Andrew A. Kosove, Annie Marter, Aaron Ryder, Marisa Polvino,

Starring: as Will, as Max, as Evelyn, as Bree, as Joseph, as Agent Buchanan, as Colonel Stevens, Clifton Collins, Jr. as Martin, as Bob, Kristen Rakes as MIT Programmer, as Joel Edmund, as Paul, Luce Rains as Roger, Fernando Chien as Heng, Steven Liu as Chiu, as Dr. Thomas Casey, as James Thomas, as Dr. Strauss

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Advertisement
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

The Big Sick Movie Review

The Big Sick Movie Review

It may be rather long for a romantic comedy, but this film has such a...

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

There's no reason why this animated comedy adventure needed to be this pointless. Solidly entertaining...

England Is Mine Movie Review

England Is Mine Movie Review

While this is billed as a film about The Smiths' singer-songwriter Morrissey, it's actually an...

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

It's been 20 years since French filmmaker Luc Besson shook up the sci-fi genre with...

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.