Starring Natasha James, Steven Berkoff and Michael McKell
Written & Directed by Nicholas Winter
Transhuman will be released on DVD by 88 Films on October 9th 2017
“Transhuman follows a young journalist into the underbelly of a transhumanist cult, spanning generations back to the nazis and World War Two”.
“Transhumanism (abbreviated as H+ or h+) is an international and intellectual movement that aims to transform the human condition by developing and making widely available sophisticated technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities”.
Thank god for Wikipedia because otherwise I would not have a clue what the hell the title of this film means. The subject is actually quite interesting and ripe for exploration, but this isn’t the film to do it. There’s the seed of an idea here, but the execution lets it down massively.
Coming from Porcelain Films, Transhuman follows British journalist Alex (Natasha James) and her investigation into some nasty business in picturesque Spain. When her close friend Cassie (Rebecca Scott) goes missing, she must help hired muscle Lukas (Marc Bannerman) in finding her. As they do, they uncover a much larger terror.
Transhuman feels like a film cobbled together because if what was available at the time. It’s as if the filmmakers had some actors they wanted to work with and some lovely Spanish locations at their disposal and just cooked up a story to fit around them. But the story is ultra-thin, and so director Nicolas Winter fills the film with scenes of discussing where to go next, driving to that place, walking around that place, with morose orchestral music forever in the background.
The production values are actually pretty great, with a proficient polish over everything. But that can only carry a film so far. Scenes are dragged out forever, particularly one set in a car that should have been claustrophobic and tense but became filler after lasting five whole minutes. Much of the film just wanders nowhere.
The performances only slow things down further but much of this is fine down to the script more than the actors. Each of the characters is pretty interchangeable, stood around in rooms spouting inane dialogue like they’re in a cut scene for an early Resident Evil game. They each do their best, but with nothing exciting to say or do, no way of making themselves likeable, it’s a lost cause.
Any positives from this? At about an hour in, Winter starts to get a bit more ambitious with his camerawork and editing, and Eastenders star Marc Bannerman starts to ham it up which livens up proceedings. The experienced Michael McKell also shows up to add a bit of class.
But it soon slumps into lazy, boring and ultimately pointless flashbacks, adding backstory that’s not needed to characters that have no dimension.
These actors, location and subject matter deserved better than this. As it is, I have to be honest and say I found this a pretty miserable viewing experience.
Best bit: the random and distracting appearance of a Barcelona shirt!