Sunday, 27 April 2014

Transcendence (3¾ Stars)

I must admit that I'm rather disappointed with this film. When I saw the trailers I expected a lot more. The trailers (which gave away about as much of the plot as I'll describe in this review) made it look like a brilliant, thought-provoking film. It is a good film, but it's not great. And it could have been made a lot better.

Johnny Depp plays Dr. Will Caster, a scientist working on creating artificial intelligence. A terrorist group calling itself RIFT (Revolutionary Independence From Technology) attempts to kill him. He is left with only a few weeks to live. During this time his colleagues upload his brain impulses to his super-computer. After his death his consciousness lives on in the computer, but aided by phenomenal processing speed. Over the next two years he makes great medical advances. He can cure people from any illness, from broken legs to blindness. But he also networks together everyone he heals, so that he can give instructions directly into their brains. This doesn't just scare RIFT, it also turns the American government against him.

The story, the plot and the concepts behind the film are fascinating. The problem is the film's pacing. When the film began I forgave the slowness since it was preparing the background and introducing the characters. But it remained just as slow when things started happening. The film seemed stretched out and could easily have been compressed into 60 minutes. Alternatively, it could have remained the same length if there had been more action. It's the first film directed by Wally Pfister, who has previously worked as a cinematographer for various films directed by Christopher Nolan. If Nolan had directed this film himself it would have been much better.

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