Director: John Moore
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, James Frecheville, Anna Friel, Stefanie Scott, Michael Nyqvist
Running Time: 1:35
Release Date: 9/23/16 (limited)
Review by Mark Dujsik | September 22, 2016
Providing a mentally disturbed villain of the generic variety and the dangers of an all-powerful web of technology, I.T. gives us two, obvious bogeymen for the price of one, pretty dumb movie. It's a thriller for people whose irrational anxiety about technology is only matched by their overriding fear of other people. That the movie gets both threats wrong is almost to be expected, since mental illness and technology are high on the list of things that movies repeatedly prove they are incapable of understanding. The ways in which this movie contrives so many familiar scenes out of its double threat, though, are almost impressive in how predictable they are.
Dan Kay and William Wisher's screenplay is a collection of clichés, from the prosperous protagonist who loses everything to the villain who is paranoid about everything but still makes grave errors in judgement—from the family that exists only as targets for terror to the scene in which the villain tampers with the brakes of someone's car. The adjustment to the routine here is that the bad guy does most of his dastardly deeds from a computer, but this minor—and already overdone—shift in the bad guy's methods doesn't change the fact that the results are the same.
The story revolves around a protagonist whose privileged status is almost ridiculously un-relatable. Mike Regan (Pierce Brosnan, doing his best to make an ordinary guy out of this entitled cypher) runs a private company for fellow people of inordinate wealth to charter a private jet. His current plan is to put the company on the public market, and he has people who are lobbying the Securities and Exchange Commission to approve the move.
The company is set to launch a mobile app that will let his wealthy clients reserve a jet with the tap of their fingers. He does take off his tie, roll up his sleeves, and don a leather jacket for the video presentation, so that evens it all out, right? The presentation encounters a glitch, and Ed (James Frecheville), a temporary I.T. guy with the company, saves the day.
Mike invites Ed to his a beautiful, modern house in the middle of nowhere, where he lives with his wife Rose (Anna Friel) and their 17-year-old daughter Kaitlyn (Stefanie Scott), because his daughter is complaining that the internet connection is slow. Ed seems like a nice guy, so it's really only a matter of time before he starts stalking Mike and his family. Then it's only a matter of less time before he thinks he's justified in his actions.
Since Ed has worked for the company and fixed the house's internet (which, apparently, is connected to everything, including Mike's hated coffee maker), he has access to every aspect of the lives of the Regan family. He sabotages the SEC decision (by giving the agency the truth about Mike's unethical, possibly illegal actions, by the way), too, putting Mike's livelihood at risk.
The movie presents Ed as the sort of nondescript psychopath who does what he does because he has vague mental health issues. He sings along to a song in his car, and there are multiple shots of him sitting in his wide open apartment, illuminated by the sickening green light of a coding program displayed on his giant computer monitors (even when the screens aren't green).
He's a bit of a pervert, although not in a self-gratifying way, which means that he records Kaitlyn masturbating in the shower and sends the video to her schoolmates. Director John Moore approaches the former scene with a—let's just leave it at—hypocritical bent. His camera lingers up and down the teenaged character's body, before the movie realizes that the invasion of privacy, which it previously flaunted, is worthy of condemnation.
Ed fakes an email to Rose about her recent mammogram. He uses the old disable-the-brakes trick by using the onboard computer of Mike's fancy car. The cops don't believe Mike, so he hires a professional "cleaner" (Michael Nyqvist) to erase his family's presence from the web and to find evidence of Ed's wrongdoing. There's a potentially nifty scene in which Mike breaks into Ed's apartment (by distracting the tech-savvy villain with a ruse that is patently obvious), and the cleaner guides him through Ed's security measure and, later, around Ed.
It's only a flash of mild inspiration in a movie that otherwise goes through motions that we've seen recycled countless times before now. I.T. simply recycles them again, with an overblown sense of relevance in regards to its technology angle and without a single identifiable human component.
Copyright © 2016 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.
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