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Transcendence: Review

Transcendence: Review

Computer science technology clashes with human understanding during this digital Frankenstein style uprising of a seemingly ordinary man going insane.

Always watchable, unique, interesting and unpredictable, Johnny Depp gives this dull movie the quirky boost it so often needs. Transcendence is certainly not a poor film, it has good ideas, untapped potential simmering without reaching boiling point. The dynamic cinematography is all sharp visuals combined with static and white noise acting as a sense of dread before things happen. Depp brings life in more ways than one to his artificial intelligence researcher character, Will Caster. Things spiral out of control when absolute power goes to his head, literally.

An opening flash-forward of events with voiceover lays a platform of what lies ahead.  Working on replacement human emotion experiments, Will becomes a prime target for anti-technology peace groups, however these factions inadvertently become an inspiration for his wicked ways. Will becomes a monster within his own unbound analysis.  Evolution as we know it goes haywire as Will takes complete control towards those against his research. His wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) finds it difficult to support her usually fun-loving husband, now a wired up circuitry madman. There is no escape from a plugged in Will and his tyranny.

Not only is the plot confusing, it’s so ridiculous an all too short appearance from voice of reason authority figure Morgan Freeman cannot save it. The best way to enjoy Transcendence is to suspend belief and go with it, although a dose of smelling salts or an extremely strong coffee may be needed during extended scenes of actors staring into computer screens or discussing random chemistry anecdotes. Shutting it down isn’t an option due to a domino effect it could have on humanity, Will has thought of everything. Minor thrills at least keep the film buoyant.

Some questions are raised on the limits of future technology, Depp remains stern while surrounded by a regal support cast trying to look serious delivering unintentional comedic dialogue. As his suffering wife, Rebecca Hall is versatile, while former child star Lukas Haas (Witness, Mars Attacks) gives his scenes an edge. Biblical style, grand delusions of electrical fire and brimstone by Will brings the presence of FBI agents completely at a loss on what’s actually going on. So is the audience.

Starring: Johnny Depp, Kate Mara, Rebecca Hall, Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman, Paul Bettany (Rated M – 119 min).

Shane A. Bassett

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