Transcendence (2014)


An expert in the field of artificial intelligence has his mind uploaded into a quantum computer which fuels a revolt by technophobic terrorists fearing the subjugation of humanity.

The old adage of “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely” is explored once more as Johnny Depp is transformed into a combination of Skynet and Doctor Manhattan. The film is of the more cerebral type of sci-fi, concerning itself with concepts rather than action and the script takes pains never to take sides; it is never entirely clear who are the “good” guys and who are the “bad”. The moral ambiguity in the idea of a “benevolent dictator” is the crux of the story, weighing the benefits to the “common good” against individual freedom. The strong cast all perform admirably, although Johnny Depp’s HAL 9000-like earnest sincerity never really conveys a suitable sense of menace which aids in the cultivation of the grey areas in which the story exists, but compromises the suspense necessary for an exciting climax.

One of those films that will appeal to those interested more in ideas than explosions but I suspect a second viewing is required to make a final judgement on its true merit. But I think I liked it.



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