When renowned scientist Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is targeted by a terrorist group, his wife and best friend (Rebecca Hall and Paul Bettany) upload his consciousness into an artificial intelligence system to save his life. But Caster takes his new-found power too far and his friends must unite to defeat him. Christopher Nolan's regular cinematographer Wally Pfister makes his directing debut with a futuristic thriller that aims to dazzle both the eye and the mind.
2014 will go down as the year Hollywood was obsessed with artificial intelligence. It played romantic subject in Her, popped up to complicate matters in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and now it theatens our very existence in Transcendence.
Johnny Depp stars as Will Caster, a scientist studying human consciousness and its implications for AI, and developing a machine that combines the mental capacity of everyone who's ever lived, thus able to solve all human problems. Ever.
He's married to Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) - a fellow scientist looking at ways AI could help save the environment - and is best friends with yet another scientist, Max Waters (Paul Bettany).
When an anti-technology terrorist group, led by an angry-looking Kate Mara, targets a string of AI researchers across America, Will is one of their targets; he's shot in public while leaving a lecture. He recovers quickly (it was just a flesh wound) but soon becomes grevously ill. The bullet was laced with chemicals and he now has mere weeks to live.
Desperate to save him, Evelyn persuades Max to help her upload Will's consciousness into their AI system, PINN. Once uploaded, he proceeds to build an underground lab, there to cure humanity's ills. But are his actions truly for the greater good, or are the simply a means to increase his own power and control?
Transcendence is the feature debut of both its screenwriter, Jack Paglen, and director Wally Pfister, Christopher Nolan's cinematographer of choice.