Published on April 26th, 2014 | by Allan Brown4
Movie Review: Transcendence (2014)
Running Time: 119 mins
Director: Wally Pfister
Writer: Jack Paglen
Cast: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, Kate Mara, Paul Bettany, Clifton Collins Jr, Cole Hauser
Christopher Nolan’s right hand man and long-term cinematographer Wally Pfister (Inception, Batman Trilogy), makes his long awaited directorial début with a science fiction, thriller that promised, oh’ so much.
As Dr Will Caster (Johnny Depp) verges closer to a breakthrough in super artificial intelligence technology, a rouge terrorist faction known only as RIFT, begin a series of planned attacks on science labs around the world. These assaults conclude on the assassination attempt of Dr Caster himself. Despite surviving, Caster and his medical team soon realise the radioactive poison the bullet was laced with, has left the good Dr with only weeks to live. As his body slowly deteriorates his wife (Rebecca Hall) and his partner (Paul Bettany) frantically labour on a way to upload his mind and consensuses to a computer, thus allowing him to exist and continue his research.
On the surface the film raises the age old question of humanity vs. technology and dances around the issue of what is self-awareness? If we are simply a web of electrical impulses could our consensuses live on through another means? Despite the complex questions raised, the film never tackles them head on and instead they are lost along with everything else in the endless psychobabble of its incredibly flat and tiresome script.
Then there is it fractured structure the film anxiously clings too, distancing us further from what should be a dramatic midsection. The film rides along jumping from the feasible to the absolutely implausible within the first 30 minutes. While these wild jumps into the outer limits of sci-fi work in many movies, here, the film shackles itself to certain and immediate realism from the get go, making these dramatic shifts in tangibility and believability harder to stomach as they become more and more outlandish.
Despite the stellar cast on show, the bland and underdeveloped script on which they have to draw from, transcends into nothing more than a viscously underwhelming 119 minute yawn-fest.
Summary: Transcendence is sadly marred by a lifeless screenplay that is as cold and disconnected as the A.I in its narrative.