Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MOVIES -

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.

Deeply dis­ap­point­ing.

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