Dr Will Caster (Depp) is a computer genius that has spent his life working on an artificial intelligence model that allows the computer to think for itself. Transcendence as he refers to it (incorrectly) is the culmination of his life’s work that will result in a self-aware computer that has unlimited potential. When he is shot by anti-AI-extremists at a conference he is poisoned by the bullet they use and given just weeks to live. His wife Evelyn (Hall) is understandably distraught and in her unhinged state she uploads his brain to a computer creating a transcendent version of Will. Is this really him; is it something more sinister; why does his super computer image keep flickering?”
If you are sixteen years old and stuck in the mid 90s psychologically it is most likely that you will love this film. If you can’t describe yourself as the above then you are really going to struggle with the absurdity that unfolds. There are so many holes in this it gets messy quickly and that’s probably because the entire idea is a patchwork of other films. There are shades of The Terminator, 2001: A Space Odyssey and someone actually refers to Y2K, yep that madcap conspiracy from the mid 90s is present and accounted for.
Wally Pfister is undoubtedly a gifted cinematographer, but that is his strength and he should stick to it because this simply does not work. Not alone is the plot full of holes but the characters are devoid of inspiration as well. Admittedly Depp is playing an emotionless super computer so it is what it is, but Hall’s Evelyn is a farcical character as is Cillian Murphy’s FBi agent. You can almost see Murphy wincing as he delivers his lines.
The combination of brilliant cinematographer and stellar cast should have reaped massive rewards but it’s lost in its own absurdity and unworthy of your hard earned cash. Avoid this at all costs.