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Transcendence

By AP KRYZA
On the surface, techno thrillers seem like a slam dunk: As technology evolves, so do the potential plot devices for effects-heavy films that pit man against the very stuff designed to benefit humanity. Trouble is, a film’s shelf life shrinks as technology advances. The long list of movies that were once considered “cutting-edge”—Maximum Overdrive, The Net, Antitrust, Hackers, Eagle Eye, Swordfish—should serve as a warning to directors. Transcendence, at the very least, addresses a compelling question: What are the benefits and costs of computers that behave with the intelligence (and potential malevolence) of a super-evolved human mind? The cautionary tale centers on Drs. Will and Evelyn Caster (Johnny Depp and Rebecca Hall), whose lives are torn apart when Will is mortally wounded by terrorists attempting to halt his revolutionary artificial-intelligence program. Distraught, Evelyn and a colleague manage to record Will’s brain patterns and incorporate them into the supercomputer’s operating system, effectively resurrecting him. But wait…is it Will? Credit director Wally Pfister—Christopher Nolan’s go-to cinematographer, making his directorial debut after giving Inception, Memento and the Batman trilogy their aesthetic—for making things look gorgeous, feel creepy and move relatively briskly. But things also jackknife jarringly, with characters inexplicably switching allegiances and fundamentally flipping their ideals halfway through. Such muddy characterization means that even if the film’s technology never feels as outdated as a flip phone, it’s still unlikely to endure.
 
  • Genres: Action, Science fiction, Thriller
  • Release Date: Friday, April 25, 2014
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • MPAA Rating: PG-13 [ Brief Strong Language, Sci-Fi Action and Violence, Sensuality, Some Bloody Images ]
  • Critic's Score: C+
  • Starring: Johnny Depp [Will Caster], Rebecca Hall [Evelyn Caster], Paul Bettany [Max Waters], Cillian Murphy [Agent Buchanan], Kate Mara [Bree], Cole Hauser [Col. Hauser], Morgan Freeman [Joseph Tagger], Clifton Collins [Martin], Cory Hardrict [Joel Edmund], Falk Hentschel [Bob], Josh Stewart [Paul], Luce Rains [Roger], Fernando Chien [Heng], Steven Liu [Chiu], Xander Berkeley [Dr. Thomas Casey], Wallace Langham [Dr. Strauss]
  • Directed by: Wally Pfister [Director], Jack Paglen [Screenwriter], Andrew A. Kosove [Producer], Broderick Johnson [Producer], Kate Cohen [Producer], Marisa Polvino [Producer], Annie Marter [Producer], David Valdes [Producer], Aaron Ryder [Producer], Christopher Nolan [Executive Producer], Emma Thomas [Executive Producer], Dan Mintz [Executive Producer], Jess Hall [Cinematographer], Chris Seagers [Production Design], David Rosenbloom [Film Editor], George Little [Costume Designer], Mychael Danna [Original Music], Dawn Swiderski [Supervising Art Direction], Thomas Frohling [Art Director], Gregory Hooper [Art Director], Bjarne Sletteland [Art Director], Clint Wallace [Art Director], Gene Serdena [Set Decoration]
  • Visit the Movie Website | Watch the trailer
 

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