Synopsis: Read on IMDB
Should you watch this movie? Although the movie has some execution flaws, the subject matter may just be enough to spark conversations afterwards.
A reknowned researcher in the field of artificial intelligence, Dr. Will Caster predicts a technological singularity (a “merger” between artificial and human intelligence) he calls “transcendence”. When an extremist anti-technology group called R.I.F.T shoots will with a radiation-laced bullet, giving him only a month to live, his wife Evelyn and his best friend, Dr. Max Waters help upload Will’s conciousness into a quantum computer.
The premise is rather interesting because it mirrors some of the big debates around technology advancement today: can the advent of technology in any way, shape or form, destroy humanities rights and freedoms? Are we getting “too close to the sun”? Or, on the other hand, can technology hold the key to heal our planet and bring peace? Now the movie, if anything just scratches the surface. Or tickles it, maybe. One thing this movie does emphasize well? When we humans put our minds to it we suck. Big time.
The main problem with the movie is execution. The narrative feels very superficial and the overall film feels like it was edited at the last minute. It does have a suspensfull vibe to it, although some may find it slow. I was still captivated throughout about what would happen next. The problem is you never really feel the plot actual closes some of the loopholes or at least make you want to get more. The saddest part is the whole movie has a pretty strong cast that appears to have only accepted their roles for the money.
Johnny Depp stars as both Dr. Will Caster and his uploaded consciousness. It’s hard to say whether his performance was good because he was very little on screen and there wasn’t much nuance to his voice work. Rebecca Hall as his wife Evelyn spends most of the time on screen playing the same role she plays in every single movie: the smart and beautiful, but somewhat conflicted professional in xyz field. Paul Bettany is the doctor friend who plays “the voice of reason”, not a very credible one when he sides with the violent acts of the group. Morgan Freeman definitely went there to collect a paycheck. Kate Mara and Cillian Murphy star also.
Right after the movie I felt ok about it. It wasn’t a whooooa! experience, but I also was not outraged about it and demanded my money back. It brought some of those questions I posted at the beginning of this review. It is only when you start dissecting the whole thing that you begin to understand why critics panned it. I still don’t think it was that appalling.
Bechdel Test: Fail
1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it Yes, Rebecca Hall as Evelyn Caster and Kate Mara as Bree
2. Who talk to each other The quick answer would be no, depending on how you see it. There is a point where the “group” is talking about something and the two female characters happen to be there contributing words.
3. About something besides a man Say we count that conversation above stated, the two women talk about Will. Either way it’s a fail.
Does it matter? Absolutely! 20 years ago, had there been a movie tackling the topic of technology I would’ve agreed with the choice of cast because it would’ve been reflective of the times. But in this day an age there are soooo many women in tech field. Why couldn’t some of the characters be female? For example, not that I have anything against Paul Bettany, but the producers could’ve cast Viola Davis and call the character Dr. Maxine Waters and the whole thing would’ve look sooo much better (I know Davis is older than these guys, but I feel she has this “gravitas” to take on a role like that)
Paola’s mood after watching this movie: