BY MIKE ROUGEAU I.T. is an average thriller mechanically coated in a veneer of shiny technology, like the newest phone on a factory line. That’s not to say it doesn’t work, but its take on the new world order led by Apple, Google and Facebook will definitely play better with people who remain skeptical of our always-connected world.
If you’ve ever called your kid because you can’t remember your log-in password; if you check out as a “guest” when buying something online because you don’t want Amazon to have your credit card info; if your initial reaction to every scrap of new technology ranges from skepticism to 24-hour-news-cycle-fueled paranoia; I.T. might be for you -- as long as you like Pierce Brosnan, too. Then again, who doesn’t?
Directed by John Moore (Behind Enemy Lines, A Good Day to Die Hard, Max Payne), I.T. stars Brosnan as rich white business guy Mike Regan, along with Anna Friel (Chuck from Pushing Daisies) and Stefanie Scott as his rich white wife and daughter, respectively. James Frecheville plays the eponymous nerdy-but-handsome I.T. guy, a significantly more murderous version of the main character from Silicon Valley.
Regan’s about to take his aerospace company to new heights (sorry) with the launch of Omni, an app that will let other rich people reserve a private jet as easily as everyone else calls an Uber. When his presentation to investors goes haywire because you can’t trust technology, the new temp I.T. guy, Ed Porter, swoops in to save the day. A grateful Regan tries to take him under his wing, inviting him over to fix his home Wi-Fi and have a dadly drink. Porter gets the wrong message, not to mention major hots for Regan’s 17-year-old daughter, Kaitlyn (Porter’s meant to be about 28). Unfortunately for the Regans it turns out Porter is a psychopath, and he uses all the technology in their lives (phones, tablets, security system, smart home appliances, in-car dash computers, you name it) to get revenge after Regan’s forced to fire him.
The lead roles are all played serviceably; Brosnan’s Regan seems legitimately exhausted (though maybe that’s just Brosnan at this point), Frecheville’s Porter is creepy throughout, Friel has a few really affecting scenes, and Scott plays a dopey teenager well. The technological back-and-forth between Regan and Porter takes up most of the film’s somehow slightly long-feeling 95 minutes. Technology’s menacing glow is everywhere, in every shot, especially early on in establishing scenes. The camera is often artfully positioned so that the Regan family is reflected back in the sheer black depths of their smart home system’s wall interfaces, before the screens blink to life and their faces are obscured in the light.
When Regan gives Porter access to that system so he can speed up the home’s Wi-Fi, Porter leaves his own “back doors” there, in Regan’s top-of-the-line car (why Porter just happens to be carrying an apparently military-grade GPS system upgrade in his knapsack is a mystery that’s never answered) and at the office so he can later orchestrate his master plan of spying on them and screwing up Regan’s business venture (the most grievous crime one can commit against rich white guys).
The creepy relationship between Porter and Kaitlyn, the daughter, is initially what’s emphasized -- when one scene ends with the mom loudly pointing out that Kaitlyn is a minor, the very next is a shower scene where Porter watches her masturbate through a hacked tablet while casually chucking popcorn into his mouth, surrounded by monitors. (Let’s talk about Porter’s lair real quick, as it looks like an unused set from The Matrix combined with JP’s office in Grandma’s Boy. I was hoping someone would barge in on Porter while he was watching the Regans and blasting his lame hacker music so he could deride them for not having “robot ears,” but alas, no such luck.)
The conflict is revealed to be more complicated, though, when Michael Nyqvist’s character Henrik -- a mysterious hacker-of-hackers who swoops in to help Regan like the The Wolf in Pulp Fiction -- discovers that Porter was abused by his parental figures and is mentally ill. It makes Porter slightly more sympathetic -- he legit thought he was part of the Regan family for a minute -- at least until the I.T. guy goes all analogue (chump) and starts waving a gun around.
That war -- between the technological and the analogue, the young and old, contemporary vs. classic -- is central to I.T., and you can guess which side wins. There’s an actual scene where Brosnan, instructed by Nyqvist (who was the bad guy in John Wick and here has a pretty awesome mustache), physically rips the Regans’ smart home system out of the wall, popping drywall as he yanks wires like loose threads. How do they solve the I.T. guy problem? “We make the house dumb,” Henrik pronounces triumphantly. Cue montage. Really.
There are lots of cringe-worthy moments like that where you can see I.T. transparently playing to its audience’s fears about technology. “We were right,” the film wants you to think. “Posting selfies online is dangerous and friend requests are sinister and all this technology is ruining the youths.”
When Brosnan’s character starts taking things into his own hands, he dramatically tears the dust cover off some old muscle car -- no computers in there, one can bet. Earlier he struggles to use a fancy coffee machine, and later he spends a chunk of the film with a baseball bat close to hand; I was surprised the poor coffee maker didn’t reappear in the “make it dumb” montage with a nod to the scene in Office Space where they take the printer out to a field and smash it up gangster style.
There’s at least one massive plot hole as well: when Porter starts really upgrading his harassment of the Regans he transmits the earlier video of the daughter -- who’s 17-years-old -- masturbating in the shower to all the kids at her high school. Shortly later, after Porter remotely sabotages his brakes, Papa Regan tries to explain The Story So Far to a hapless, curmdugeonly, two-weeks-from-retirement type detective, who predictably doesn’t believe a lick of it.
That should feel about spot on to anyone who’s ever tried to report any kind of cyber harassment or threats to their friendly local law enforcement agencies; yet I’m pretty sure transmission of child pornography -- to a bunch of other children -- is a crime that law enforcement wouldn’t ignore. Too bad they gloss over that point, though, as it could have saved the Regans a whole lot more misery.
There are moments of real tension in I.T., particularly when you realize you don’t really know how far the I.T. guy will go in his quest for revenge-ceptance (that’s revenge and acceptance). What’s he capable of? How else will he use that pesky technology to sabotage the Regans’ lives? What are the actual stakes here? Several intense scenes lead to a slightly dissatisfying climax, although the final conflict -- a good old fashioned throwdown in fisticuffs -- is at least thematically fitting.
I.T. has moments of real tension interspersed throughout, but its consistent theme -- that you can’t trust technology because a bad guy might use it against you -- is a little bit silly. How did anyone make thrillers before Facebook?
One flop after another ,not good for his forte post james bond period. He seriously need to fire his agent,his next the kings daughter doesnt look promising either after paramount pull the release date out of sudden.
Hopefully his turn in the upcoming martin campbell the foreigner will give him his best review.
His another film with martin campbell the propose across the river into the tree looks promising if its really happening.
Pierce seriously need to relook into his choices of film and start picking a good director for his film ptoject.
A return with roman polanski a master of thriller would be a good choice for him right now.
Post by formermi6agent on Sept 25, 2016 14:19:17 GMT -5
Pierce is not a fan of his Bonds after GE. Why else would he want do a Bond film that is not only dark and gritty but also rooted deeply into Fleming's work? Also he even admitted his singing wasn't up to speed in Mamma Mia. The question now is this: does Pierce even realize the big picture of his career? I get that he's keeping himself busy as usual, and that he's looking for interesting roles. The roles he pick may interesting, but the works where those characters are in lack quality.
From @aoifebyrnestunts I felt very tall working on this feature film, doubling #annafriel. Great team to be a part of, working alongside the great #piercebrosnan, in the film I.T. #stunts #stuntdouble #shortarse