Transcendence is directed by cinematographer Wally Pfister (The Dark Knight, Memento) in his directorial debut and written by Jack Paglan.
This is the tale of Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp – Edward Scissorhands, Pirates Of The Caribbean), a scientist who is at the forefront of the development of a sentient computer. The project is not without it’s opposition as many people fear the possible implications of this work.
When the main objectors, “Revolutionary Independence From Technology” or “R.I.F.T.” decide to up the ante, they shoot Will with an irradiated bullet, leaving him with less than a month to live, and unwittingly providing him with the perfect opportunity to test out his theories on himself.
With the assistance of his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall – A Promise, Closed Circuit) and his best friend Max (Paul Bettany – The Da Vinci Code, A Knight’s Tale), they work to upload his consciousness into the quantum computer they had created as part of their research.
Although the procedure is a success, when Will’s likeness within the computer requests that he be connected to the internet, Max panics and tries to stop it from happening, realizing that Will himself would never have made such a request and that his personality may have been lost to the technology.
As Max is captured by R.I.F.T., lead by Bree (Kate Mara – Shooter, 127 Hours), the FBI begin to take an interest in the threat posed by Will, and FBI agent Buchanan (Cillian Murphy – Batman Begins, Inception) and government scientist Joseph Tagger (Morgan Freeman – The Shawshank Redemption, Oblivion) work together to prevent Will achieving his increasingly sinister goals.
At his self built underground bunker, he develops nanites able to heal people, but are his motives pure and if not will anyone be able to stop him before it’s too late?
On the face of it, this seems like a great idea for a story, raising all sorts of questions about the relationships between man and machine and the possible consequences of developing sentient computers. However, it just doesn’t work. The story drags and with little or no action and slow moving dialogue there is no real incentive to get to the end.
Of course, the acting is great, as you would expect from a cast such as this, but they simply don’t ever seem to have anything to get their teeth into. Not a classic this one and there are plenty of much better sci-fi films out there.
May be worth a look if you are a die hard Johnny Depp fan, but this one is pretty take it or leave it.