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Transcendence

✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

United Kingdom, China, USA

2014

Rated PG-13 • 1h 59m

Director Wally Pfister

Starring Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman, Paul Bettany

Genre Thriller, Science Fiction, Drama, Mystery

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Two leading computer scientists work toward their goal of Technological Singularity, as a radical anti-technology organization fights to prevent them from creating a world where computers can transcend the abilities of the human brain.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

40

TheWrap by Alonso Duralde

You can feel this movie's attempts at Big Ideas about technology get weighed down by a dopey, nonsensical plot.
33

The Playlist by Charlie Schmidlin

Jack Paglen’s script casts artificial intelligence and its dangers as the central trouble for its ensemble cast, but Pfister chooses to explore it in essentially a two-hour “getting ready” montage.
42

Hitfix by Drew McWeeny

Wally Pfister, best known until now as the cinematographer on Christopher Nolan's big films, makes his directorial debut here, and as dumb as Paglen's script is, Pfister seems to have no feeling whatsoever for the staging of sequences or for any sort of dramatic narrative momentum.
67

IndieWire by Eric Kohn

While never as dynamically involving as Christopher Nolan's "Inception," for which longtime Nolan director of photography Pfister justifiably won an Oscar, Transcendence still grapples with provocative existential concepts in similarly thoughtful terms.
25

New York Post by Lou Lumenick

Lethargic direction, bland visuals, credulity-straining plotting and tin-eared dialogue turn even pros like Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany and Morgan Freeman into sleepwalking bores.
25

Observer by Rex Reed

A pointless nightmare of pretentious science fiction twaddle with no plot, no coherence and no heart.
38

McClatchy-Tribune News Service by Roger Moore

This thoughtful but windy and winded sci-fi thriller shortchanges the science – understandably - and the thrills. The directing debut of “Dark Knight” cinematographer Wally Pfister is a mopey affair with indifferent performances, heartless romance and dull action. It transcends nothing.
40

Variety by Scott Foundas

There are intriguing, half-formed ideas afoot in Transcendence, but the script and Pfister’s heavy, humorless direction tend to reduce everything to simplistic standoffs between good and evil.
50

The Hollywood Reporter by Todd McCarthy

Pfister, who, like his mentor Nolan, adamantly continues to shoot on film (not digital), shows a sure hand at staging scenes, creating visuals and setting a tone -- if only all the diverse elements here fit comfortably under the same tent.

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