Transcendence  (2014)    73/100

Rating :   73/100                                                                     119 Min        12A

A lot better than I was expecting, in fact they’ve done quite a clever thing with the trailer as most of what we see in it appears onscreen near the beginning reducing the amount of spoilers left to come. Will (Johhny Depp) and Evelyn Caster (Rebecca Hall) are completely devoted to each other as husband and wife, but they both also happen to be brilliant scientists working together on artificial intelligence projects – projects that will bring them to the attention of terrorist group RIFT, who deem their work a threat to all of humanity and plot to put a permanent end to their efforts. After Will is mortally wounded, Evelyn desperately tries to save him by transferring his consciousness digitally onto computer data banks.

One of the film’s strongest points is that it doesn’t waste any time mulling over the details and the far flung plot elements, it just gets on with it, which not only makes it more enjoyable but it also helps it seem more plausible. Hall is great as the doting and determined wife whose emotions blind her to the possibility that she has become a modern day Frankenstein, as Paul Bettany and Morgan Freeman provide the perfect foil of concern to her unshakeable devotion as they question whether or not the Will they knew could possibly have ‘transcended’ as completely as they hoped. As with all good sci-fi, even though this takes us in leaps and bounds forward, the beginnings of the basic story are now a matter of science fact, from work on nanobots to our ability to transfer the electrical signals of our brain digitally – see the end of the review for The Zero Theorem.

Well paced and directed by Wally Pfister in his directorial début (he is best known as Christopher Nolan’s long running cinematographer, who won the Oscar for his work on ‘Inception’ 2010), an interesting story from Jack Paglen (also his first screenplay) and brought to life by a wonderful group of actors, this is enjoyable sci-fi with plenty of hooks to follow up on in the real world (click here for a few examples).

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