Provocative but flawed.
It is perhaps the Nolan effect that stops Pfister's sci- fi thriller from getting overtly burdened by a very different influence that is not altogether a positive one. The film's theme vaguely reminds you of Hollow Man . In Hollow Man Kevin Bacon played a scientist whose experiment with invisibility goes wrong, thereby turning him evil. In Transcendence Johnny Depp plays a researcher whose experiment with artificial intelligence slowly takes a toll on his personality and mindset.
If Pfister's film avoids the trap of ennui that Hollow Men fell into, it is because he imparts a distinct style to his narrative. A solid cast works in the
film's favour, too. Depp apart, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany and Morgan Freeman excel in interesting roles.
Depp is cast as Dr Will Caster, who is working at combining absolute knowledge with all human emotions. An attack on his life leaves him terminally ill. Caster decides to go against all ethics in his bid to acquire absolute knowledge. Very soon, he is drawn by the idea of acquiring absolute power.
The film lets Depp regale with a sinister edge in a way only he can. Transcendence aims at leaving an undercurrent question on how far humanity should push the concept of artificial intelligence. Depp's act serves well to highlight that point.
It's not the best piece of sci- fi coming out of Hollywood lately but Transcendence works as a onetime watch.
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