Review: ‘Transcendence’ (M) ***


SOME may hold that the bulk of Jack Paglen’s adaptation of futurist Ray Kurzwell’s novel about a world where machines have become more intelligent than their builders covers the complete ambit of this sci-fi romantic actioner.

Early in Wally Pfister’s film, AI scientist Will Caster (Johnny Depp) suggests that God is the creation of mankind. Ere long, Will’s wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and his colleague Max (Paul Bettany) cast his ashes into a river. Five years later, the economy is in tatters. Evelyn is searching cyberspace for Will. The film is really about what happens when he makes contact from deep in the internet where he has transferred his intellectual power.

Will wants to do good for humanity. On his terms. Opposing him is a group led by Bree (Kate Mara) who perceives him as an evil influence over a world blighted by misfortune. You don’t need to be a genius to work out which direction “Transcendence” will take once Will and Evelyn set up a computing site bigger than Google’s to run the planet.

Having appointed Will to the office, the film doesn’t further canvass the reality of God underpinning its initial argument. It’s enhanced by the dignified participation of Morgan Freeman as a colleague who wants Will to stop faffing about from cyberspace and let the world get back to reality, warts and all. High-speed scrolling through panes packed with unintelligible data suggests the director’s esteem for its plethora of IT mumbo-jumbo more than respect for our willingness to take it seriously.

 At Hoyts, Capitol 6, Dendy and Limelight


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