Blackhat is a digital disaster

by Kristina Aiad-Toss

Following the popular theme of cybercrime surrounding American culture, director Michael Mann brings the subpar film, Blackhat. In this movie, Nick Hathaway, an extremely talented hacker, hunts down an international cyber hacker network to get out of a prison sentence. This film exploits a very enthralling and popular topic with a poor execution of the storyline, a script handicaps the acting talent, and unnaturally placed cinematography in an overbearingly realistic depiction of the subject matter. Throughout the movie, the action is short-lived, limited, and very tame, while the scenes are convoluted, lengthy, and uninteresting. Even the storyline was disorganized, possessing unnecessary subplots and details that viewers cannot logically follow. Adding to this disjointedness, some events happened too simplistically or nonsensically, without presenting a reason for their occurrence.

Directed by
Michael Mann
Chris Hemsworth, Viola Davis, Wei Tang
Release Date
16 January 2015
Kristina’s Grade: D+

For a movie about hackers, the film is not intelligent enough as situations are too easily resolved and oftentimes dumbed down. In addition, the real antagonist is missing throughout the majority of the film and only appears in a significant way towards the end. Nevertheless, some well created scenes, including impressive chase scenes and fascinating visuals of China and Indonesia, attempt to capture the audience’s attention. However, in the end, the film relies purely on curiosity to keep viewers from losing interest, creating a final product that is a very uneven and underdeveloped.

Starring Chris Hemsworth and Viola Davis, this film blatantly misuses a talented cast with a sparse script. Hemsworth’s acting is phenomenal, as he delivers the lines he is given effectively. Nonetheless, he does not seem to fit the intellectual aspect of his computer hacker character, which robs his performance of the full impact. Davis does not achieve her previous award-winning performances, but that is due to the lacking script which she more than makes up for.

Leehom Wang as Chen Dawai provides acting that is credible, but a little too one-dimensional. Out of the cast, Wei Tang gave the most exceptional character portrayal as Chen Lien, who had to transition between a wide range of emotions throughout the film. While not enough time was devoted on telling a coherent story with interesting and developed characters, this film spent too much time on typical and out of place cinematography. The shaky, hand-held cinematography is uncharacteristic of the digital world and makes this film look under produced.

Making the transitions monotonous, the repetitive digital sequence of bits moving through circuits is not very imaginative and last too long. Although the film is lacking any fascinating aspects, Blackhat’s basic premise is very believable and realistic. The characters are credible as well, maybe not the extravagant super heroes audiences fall in love with, but real world types. However, by creating a very down-to-earth and commonplace portrayal of the criminal world of cyber space, the film loses that magical cinematic quality that steals the hearts of audiences. Overall, the film is a realistic depiction of the subject matter, but lacks any cinematic depth and possesses an uneven and underdeveloped plot line that barely sparks the audience’s interests.