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

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles 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.