Blackhat (2015)

What a lifeless piece of junk. From the moment it opens with shots flying through circuit boards and the inner cityscapes of servers, the badness begins. The horrible CGI and the attempt to make technology sexy and sleek sets the tone for this lifeless, dreary film. The plot is a blase tale of two hackers, one a terrorist, the other a criminal. The criminal must hunt down the terrorist while being kept on a short leash by both Chinese and American agents.

Unfortunately, no one keeps Michael Mann on a leash. One of the most incompetently shot and edited films I’ve seen in years, the film physically gave me a headache. Jumps in space that disorient coupled with rapid-fire editing that doesn’t give you enough time to orient yourself in what is happening. Add in the tone-deaf electronic soundtrack and the film is a crime against the senses.

Also, is there any director who makes sex look so impotent? Mann seems to have no interest in character, so when love-making happens, there’s no reason to believe in the passion of the characters. And it’s not just that the sex has no romance, it’s not sexy. Man finds the worst, blandest perspectives from which to shoot the human body. There’s no tenderness, no lust, just two objects rubbing against each other trying to make fire without any real friction between them.

The downright dull action sequences cap off this horrible experience. At moments, it flirts with the idea of being campy action, but everything is taken so seriously that it’s hard to find any of it fun. Physics defying actions don’t become extraordinary or absurd, it’s just another example of how tone-deaf this whole piece is. Blackhat feels like it was made by a robot attempting to make something resembling humanity. The result is a cold, incoherent mess.

© 2016 James Blake Ewing