Michael Mann’s latest film is as exciting as you’d imagine computer coding to be.
When a mysterious cyber-terrorist causes a nuclear reactor meltdown in China, United States and China partner to prevent future attacks. Curiously-casted Chris Hemsworth -aka Thor- plays Nicholas Hathaway, a coding genius turned convict who is granted furlough in exchange for his help in the investigation. With his MIT roommate (Leehom Wang) and his sister (Tang Wei) in tow, Hathaway jumps from Hong Kong to Los Angeles to Jakarta in search of the perpetrator.
The first half of the film is hard to follow and particularly drags, with the criminal unidentified and unseen until well into the latter half. To fill the void, several shots of the inside of a keyboard and information traveling through circuits consume the screen. Due to the inherent lack of excitement in watching somebody type on a computer, the film relies on in-your-face action scenes, brooding close-ups of Hemsworth and cliché romance to keep the viewer’s attention.
There are some redeeming qualities, such as striking cinematography throughout and an artfully-captured chase scene through a candlelit ceremony. The film also presents an interesting look at our reliance on technology and the subsequent vulnerability of the information we entrust to it.
While Blackhat has some entertaining elements, it will otherwise fade among Hollywood’s lost and lackluster thrillers.