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

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

Advertisement
City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

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.