I’ve been looking forward to seeing this movie for some time. And I’m happy to report that I liked it, only not for the reasons I thought I would. I don’t want to get into analyzing the story, what worked, what didn’t, what was unexpected, because that would spoil the movie watching experience for you. I can only say that the previews didn’t really get at the meat of the story.
The aesthetics of the movie reminds me a lot of GATACA, one of my favorite science fiction movies ever. It isn’t as sanitized as GATACA but it has that general feeling.
I’m still trying to decide if I liked Joaquin Phoenix in this movie. In almost every scene I thought, “Please shave off that mustache.” Aside from that his character was incredibly wishy-washy, but with moments of genuine insight. So was it brilliant acting of a complex character, or just so-so acting of a poorly defined character. I’ll probably have to see the movie a few more times to really be certain and I’m not sure it’s the kind of movie I’m going to want to rewatch. However, given Joaquin Phoenix’s reputation as an outstanding actor I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on this one and go with the “brilliant acting of a complex character” option.
I’m a little biased because I have a big crush on Scarlett Johansson but I thought she did an outstanding job doing the computer voice. This isn’t like voicing a character in an animated film because we never see her, or any character’s, expression. Her job is more like Hugo Weaving’s performance in “V for Vendetta” where we see him but never his face. Scarlett did a great job of projecting a range of emotions without overdoing it.
In the end, if you like thought provoking movies with a splash of science fiction then you’ll want to see this movie. However, it might be best left to view on DVD at home.