Transcendence (2014)



Critic Consensus: In his directorial debut, ace cinematographer Wally Pfister remains a distinctive visual stylist, but Transcendence's thought-provoking themes exceed the movie's narrative grasp.

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Movie Info

Sci-Fi Thriller. Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is the foremost researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence, working to create a sentient machine that combines the collective intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotions. His highly controversial experiments have made him famous, but they have also made him the prime target of anti-technology extremists who will do whatever it takes to stop him. However, in their attempt to destroy Will, they inadvertently become the catalyst for him to succeed-to be a participant in his own transcendence. For his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and best friend Max Waters (Paul Bettany), both fellow researchers, the question is not if they can...but if they should. Their worst fears are realized as Will's thirst for knowledge evolves into a seemingly omnipresent quest for power, to what end is unknown. The only thing that is becoming terrifyingly clear is there may be no way to stop him.(C) Warner
PG-13 (for sci-fi action and violence, some bloody images, brief strong language and sensuality)
Drama , Science Fiction & Fantasy
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Johnny Depp
as Dr. Will Caster
Paul Bettany
as Max Waters
Rebecca Hall
as Evelyn
Morgan Freeman
as Joseph Tagger
Kate Mara
as Bree
Cole Hauser
as Colonel Stevens
Cillian Murphy
as Agent Buchanan
Cory Hardrict
as Joel Edmund
Luce Rains
as Roger
Steven Liu
as Chiu
Xander Berkeley
as Dr. Thomas Casey
Lukas Haas
as James Thomas
Wallace Langham
as Dr. Strauss
James Burnett
as Meth Head #1
Sam Quinn
as Meth Head #2
Sam Webb
as Red Hooded Teenager
Christopher Gartin
as Tech Conference Coordinator
Abraham Jallad
as Rift Hacker
Lauren Sivan
as Reporter
Laramie Cooley
as BDC Greeter
Nancy Jeris
as BDC Servant
Colin Jones
as FBI Agent
Dylan Kenin
as FBI Agent
Chad Brummett
as Solar Field Worker
Antonio Del Prete
as Will In Hybrid
Jon Kristian Moore
as Will In Hybrid
John Trejo
as Special Forces On Roof
Matthew J. Berkovitz
as Campus Security
Darren Patrick Leis
as Medical Lab Tech
Donna D. Brown
as Rift Surgeon
Zackeriah Carpenter
as Rift Medical Tech
Christina Lancellotti
as Rift Medical Tech
Kristen Rakes
as Computer Programmer
Seth Adkins
as Miserable Student
Dean Bailey
as Edge Driver
Gary Dionne
as Biscuit Driver
Fred North
as Pilot
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News & Interviews for Transcendence

Critic Reviews for Transcendence

All Critics (206) | Top Critics (49)

Pfister and Paglen are going for emotional intimacy, but they forgot to add enough shading to their ensemble to land any kind of punch.

Full Review… | September 22, 2016
The Atlantic
Top Critic

The movie is rhythmless, shapeless, and, with the exception of a few shots, cheesy-looking.

Full Review… | May 4, 2014
New Yorker
Top Critic

Remember when paycheck-hungry actors were accused of phoning in a performance? Johnny Depp spins that for millennials in Transcendence by Skpying in his performance.

Full Review… | April 24, 2014
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

When it's all over, you will turn on your iPhone and ask Siri to find you a good restaurant for a bite to eat near the theater. And you will have learned nothing.

Full Review… | April 21, 2014
Top Critic

"Transcendence" is a moronic stew of competing impulses - bad science meets bad sociology meets bad theology ...

Full Review… | April 20, 2014
Top Critic

One of those "control technology or it will control you" sermons that nonetheless enlists the usual heap of technically advanced special effects.

Full Review… | April 18, 2014
Village Voice
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Transcendence


An interesting concept that falls through due to terrible execution. You will sit through this movie feeling and thinking nothing. And, you will likely be walking away from this feeling as though you completely wasted two hours of your life. I know I did.

Nikhil Nandu
Nikhil Nandu

Super Reviewer

Johnny Depp likes to play off beat characters. In "Transcendence" he plays an A.I. researcher who dies, who then has his mind put into an A.I. program and he ultimately wants to play god. This reminded me a lot of "Lawnmower Man", now I can be off with that because it's been forever since I've seen that. But it has a very similar vibe to it. There are flashes here of brilliance, but overall, the movie never works like it should. Can't quite put my finger on it as to why either. Has a good cast with Depp, Morgan Freeman, Paul Bettany, and Rebecca Hall. The story is decent enough, but jump something about the execution of it all had me shrugging my shoulders going "meh". It's not something I'll probably ever feel an urge to revisit, but I can see how some people would enjoy it. Interesting movie, but just didn't work for me.

Everett Johnson
Everett Johnson

Super Reviewer

Transcendence is a decent film that could have been so much more. The result that is displayed here is a film that is quite ambitious, but you feel that the film a bit lacking and it should have been better of course. The idea is great, and to be honest, I liked the film, but it did fall short of what it could have been. The film isn't as bad as what everyone says, but I'll admit that the script could have been tighter and more polished before being given a green light. This is an average Sci Fi film that has some good performances and it does work at time. However in other scenes, you are left wanting much more depth to the story and by the time the credits roll, you feel that there is a definite room for improvement. Now, is it a mess, it isn't, Transcendence is a bit underrated to be honest, and for what it is, it's entertaining. However, like I stated before, this film should have been great considering the talent involved in the project and some terrific ideas that unfortunately never seem to come to absolute fruition. I think it's a good effort, and I can understand why it got some flack, but there are far worst films out there that have come out this year such as I, Frankenstein. I would say that the best way to enjoy the film is to keep your expectation really in between, and you might like it, but you're surely going to feel that this film needed something more when the credits end. Transcendence is not great, but it's not bad either. I enjoyed the film, and it had some interesting moments. One must wonder if there would have been more effective thrills if the script would have been rewritten a few times.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

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