Film - Transcendence


When you need a technical film about technology reviewed you send - er...Damn, okay we had to send Depp fanboy (and technophobe) Steve Taylor-Bryant to review Transcendence...

Let me start with a few rules for those of you that still have to go and watch this film.

1 - Under no circumstances read a review, I've yet to read one that sees the film for what it is. Which leads me onto...

2 - Under no circumstances go into your viewing expecting a Christopher Nolan film, a big budget Hollywood film, or a typical, of the last 15 years, Johnny Depp film.

If you can follow these simple rules you will love this film. If you can't, you will hate it. It really is that simple. What director Wally Pfister, in his debut in full charge, and new screen writer Jack Paglen have created is an independent film about the power of the internet with the world's strangest love story attached to side of it, with a cast that aren't there for a paycheque, they genuinely come across like they want to work to Pfister.

Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp - Pirates of the Caribbean) is a scientist looking to create the world's first sentient computer, against the better judgement of some powerful people and an anti-technology terrorist group. Caster is shot and terminally wounded and asks his wife, Evelyn (Rebecca Hall - The Prestige) and his partner in all things science Max (Paul Bettany - Iron Man) to upload his consciousness to the new computer. All is not well though when Caster the friendly ghost (close enough?) demands to be plugged into the internet. Whilst the devoted Evelyn would bow to his every whim, Max is not so sure about the idea and shares his concerns with duo's mentor Joseph Tagger (Morgan Freeman - The Dark Knight) and the F.B.I. in the guise of Agent Buchanan (Cillian Murphy - Batman Begins). Caster begins to rewrite his/its coding and sets about world domination which does not please the anti-tech group leader Bree (Kate Mara - House of Cards).

The film is beautifully visual, as you would expect from one of the world's foremost cinematographers, and whether it's the special effects or the mood scenes involving petals and raindrops your eyes remained transfixed to the screen. Depp is his usual watchable self, if not slightly more understated than usual and the 'back up cast' of Mara, Murphy and Freeman add real character weight to the proceedings. Paul Bettany improves every time I get the opportunity to see him and, had it not been for Rebecca Hall, he would have stolen the show but Hall is supreme. Every emotion you could think of going through after the loss and then, rather radical, saving of a loved one plays out through her very essence.

Parts of the film have been touched upon in different ways in past films and some of it has a The Lawnmower Man feel to it but its message is clear - The internet is a very powerful tool, what should we do about it? If you want my opinion, we should upload me to the internet. I mean, what could go wrong?

Beautiful, elegant and thought provoking.

Image - Amazon