11 July 2014

Film of the Day #13: Transcendence


So, continuing with my Johnny Depp theme that I seem to have going on, I watched Transcendence last night. Someone on Facebook reminded me of it and I immediately had to watch. I had wanted to see it in the cinema because Johnny, but have to say, kind of delighted I didn't spend the money. It is disappointing to the max. I have my sad face on.

So disappointing.
The film follows Will and Evelyn Caster (Johnny Depp and Rebecca Hall), two mega-geniuses who want to save the world and shit. They are madly in love (apparently) and just want to help move the world forward. This forward thinking only leads to bad things though, and Will is shot by extremists called 'Revolutionary Independence from Technology' (catchy, I know) or R.I.F.T short. He's given a month to live and Evelyn becomes desperate to save him, or his consciousness in some way. With their friend Max (Paul Bettany) they work to create a code to upload Will to a computer, because why not? They succeed but Max is no longer sure that this memory is Will, or if it is something more sinister. Evelyn is convinced it is, but as Will needs more and more power and becomes more ambitious, is she wrong?

The premise of this film so obviously wanted to be something that stirred conversation, it wanted us to question our relationship with technology but it is so broad in it's ideas it ends up muddling the message. The ending in particular, does not match to the first 1/3 of the film, which is extremely annoying. I'm still not entirely sure if I was meant to think technology is bad, or if extremists are just REALLY MEAN. I mean, I'm fairly sure the latter is true, but still not sure about the former. Speaking of the extremists, I know Kate Mara (the leader of R.I.F.T) is a perfectly talented actress, but I had literally no idea why she was so against technology. I guess all those pesky teenagers with better phones than her made her forget all the good shit technology has done for us. I'm pretty sure I was meant to empathise with her to some extent, but she just really annoyed my shit. Also, baffled that technology= BAD, murder= ACCEPTABLE. Logic was not a strong point of this film. 
Another issue I had (apart from everything) was Johnny Depp. I'm not entirely sure how one of the most charismatic and dynamic actors of recent times turned in one of the most boring performances I've ever seen. He's not necessarily bad, he just looks a lot of the time like he would rather be elsewhere! I know the script didn't give a lot to work with, but seriously. Whilst I understood the choice to be robotic when he was in the computer, it doesn't explain the acting at the start. Also, for a couple supposedly MADLY in love, I did not buy that at all. 

There are a few good things about the film! Directed by Wally Pfister, the man responsible for the dark beauty of Christopher Nolan's films, this is a gorgeous film. Some of the shots are just...wow. 
Paul Bettany and Rebecca Hall, as the best friend and wife are very good also. Whilst half their decisions totally baffled me, at least they convinced me that their character thought it was a good idea.
The last section of the film (excluding the baffling ending) is actually quite good. It finally creates a bit of interest or gives an idea of the threat of Will's technology that they had been talking about for the entire bloody film. For trying to convince me that Will was up to badness, I'm not sure they went the right way to convince me he was evil. After all, his 'evil plan' consisted of healing people. Sure, he did some weird shit, but largely when he was threatened. All they really convinced me of was that humans are the problem when it comes to technology, but perhaps that was the message they were trying to send? Either way, it left me confused and with a bit of a headache. 
Honestly, the worst thing about the movie is that it's kinda boring. If you're going to spend $100 million on a movie, you sure as shit want to make it exciting, and unfortunately, the excitement is entirely condensed in the last 20 minutes. I don't need explosions or guns, but I do need to care.
Johnny, I still love you.

I'll leave it there for tonight guys! If you've any questions or comments, hit me up below or find me on my social media. Also, I wrote a Friday Film Recommendation for my friend over at Secrets of a Twenty Something, which you can find here. So, once you're finished here, make sure to pop on over there. This film might have been disappointing, but the film I reviewed for there is anything but! I hope you're all well, and I'll chat to you soon!



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