Too far TRANSCENDENCE
Stars: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman, Paul Bettany Director: Wally Pfi ster
Even Depp himself appears bored with, or indifferent to, his role in Transcendence, a sci- fi romance about a couple of artifi cial intelligence experts who are so deeply in love, she decides to upload his mind into a computer when he is irradiated by cyberterrorists.
Even before Depp parts ways with his body, the actor is barely present in the role of Dr Will Caster, a brilliant scientist whose experiments to create a sentient machine have been both groundbreaking and controversial.
Rebecca Hall, an actor of considerable warmth and integrity, is reduced to a kind of saintlike devotion as Evelyn Caster, the great man’s wife and muse.
Paul Bettany, a credible moral compass, is similarly limited as their friend and narrator.
But Morgan Freeman has possibly drawn the shortest straw as the fi lm’s scientifi c elder statesman.
Artifi cial intelligence holds almost as many false leads for fi lmmakers as it does for scientists – just ask Steven Spielberg. For every HAL, there’s a Gigolo Joe.
In his directorial debut, long- time Christopher Nolan cinematographer Wally Pfi ster fails to fi nd his way out of the existential maze he has created for himself.
Given its impressive pedigree ( Nolan served as executive producer), the fi lm’s exploration of its subject matter is surprisingly shallow.
Its failure to grapple with the issues on any satisfying level is all the more disappointing when the fi lm is compared to Spike Jonze’s recent project Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix, which explores similar thematic ground to much more potent effect.