Film Review: Transcendence

Directed by Wally Pfister, Transcendence is a sci-fi thriller that follows Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp), the foremost researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence. As he works toward his goal of creating an omniscient, sentient machine that combines the collective intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotions, his highly controversial experiments make him the prime target of anti-technology extremists, who will do whatever it takes to stop him. But with few options left, Will wants to become a participant in his own transcendence, to establish a world where computers can transcend the abilities of the human brain. For his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and best friend Max Waters (Paul Bettany), the question is not if they can help Will., but if they should.

Directed by cinematographer Wally Pfister with usual collaborator Christopher Nolan serving as executive producer, Transcendence certainly has a Nolan feel to it. It’s dark, futuristic, intelligent, and full of ambition. The speed at which technology evolves will always be a scary thought, and what Pfister explores here is a clever and thought-provoking. There may not be any massive explosions or show-off effects, but Transcendence‘s visuals are subtly elegant and the story is one that will make you think. What I liked most was that you were made to question whether you believed if Will’s mind really had been kept alive or not, which added another layer to the story, I thought, and that’s what a science fiction film should be about.

With an A-list cast, also starring Kate Mara, Cillian Murphy, and Morgan Freeman, Transcendence does better itself with some decent performances. Depp gives the film a strong lead, while Hall boldly carries the film on as his character is forced to take a ghostly back seat.

Transcendence may be a film you only watch once, but there’s no denying that it’s worthy of that.

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