Film review: Transcendence (7 out of 10)

Whether we like it or not digital technology touches virtually everyone’s life today.

You may not understand the mechanics behind it, but the World Wide Web, PCs, tablets, phones, etc are very familiar items for everyday use.



But where will it all end?

This is where Transcendence comes in.

It asks some rather worrying questions that may very well arise in the not too distant future.

Johnny Depp plays Will Caster, who is at the cutting edge of artficial intelligence.

In fact, he is looking to push the limits of the human brain, transcending existing concepts.

But a faction exists that is ready to fight modern technology, modern-day Luddites who fear the possibility of permanent digital damage.

One of these fanatics shoots the professor. As he dies, his equally clever wife Evelyn decides to keep him ‘alive’ by plugging him into the internet.

At the start all is well, although the digital destroyers are keen to pull the plug on this experiment.

So we are faced with questions about the essence of being human, and the damaging effects of love.

This isn’t the most. demanding role for Depp who strolls through the movie.

Rebecca Hall as his wife has a far meatier part to play and it’s good to see this English actress get another fine role.

Morgan Freeman is his usual good self as a fellow scientist, but the main problem with the movie is most of the characters are rather two dimensional and obvious, particularly Paul Bettany as a scientist who is uncertain about the work he’s doing, Kate Mara as a digi-destroyer and Cillian Murphy as an FBI agent.

Director Wally Pfister keeps the film ticking along and, as a former top cinematogrpaher, comes up with some very good shots.

However, while I’ve struggled recently with some ridiculously long movies, this is one is that possibly could have been longer.

Some of the important decisions taken as part of the plot are rather glossed over.

Overall, though, it’s a decent stab at a fascinating subject and will get you thinking.

Film details: Transcendence (12A) 119mins

Director: Wally Pfister

Starring: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman.

Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley