Technology changes at such a fast rate these days that we aren’t fully aware of the possible complications until after something has been introduced. In the mid-‘90s as the internet made its way into more and more homes, there was a surge in movies rooted in techno-panic. Films like The Net operated with suspicion towards technology, carrying themselves with a moral that practically says “Yeah, this is great and all, but what if something went horribly wrong?” The new film starring Pierce Brosnan and directed by John Moore, I.T., attempts to revive the techno-panic subgenre with its story of privacy shattered by an internet connection. The most amazing aspect of I.T. is the amazing lack of imagination on display as there’s not a single original thought present in this underwhelming throwback.
Brosnan stars as Mike Regan, a wealthy entrepreneur who has made his fortune in private jets. He plans to unveil a new app – think Uber for private planes – and is awaiting approval from the SEC in order to successfully launch his new venture. If this goes bust, so does Regan’s massive wealth. Regan’s home life is rather quaint, living in a massive mansion that is the height of technological living with his wife Rose (Anna Friel) and daughter Kaitlyn (Stefanie Scott). One day when Regan encounters technological issues at work that are quickly resolved from the company’s new I.T. tech Ed Porter (James Frecheville), Regan extends an invitation for the young man to do some work on the computerized aspects of his home. Ed streamlines Regan’s car and home with experimental tech. It doesn’t take long for Ed to mistake Regan’s professional courtesy for friendship and tries to inject himself in the family unit. Upon rejection, Ed uses his computer prowess to inflict all sorts of professional and personal pain upon Reagan and his family, using the intimate access to their mainframe to undermine their lives in every available facet.
Everything about I.T. makes it seem like a movie that’s been sitting on the shelf for 20 years, like the combination of Fear and The Net relegated the story to the backburner for two decades. As the jilted I.T. guy, James Frecheville plays the role as an emotionally unstable caricature of an extreme athlete – Poochie out for vengeance. The long hair, the wrap-around shades, the blaring techno music as stares into the abyss of multiple computer screens in his technological dungeon all seem like they belong a world before The Matrix ever came out. And the young actor is unable to provide the right level of menace to the role, often stumbling over into unintentional humor. Of course, the script by Dan Kay and William Wisher, Jr. don’t allow the character to have any real depth and place the actor in horrible situations that call for him to sing along with Missing Persons’ “Words” while in an emotionally unstable state.
Naturally, Ed takes his technological terrorism to inflict pain upon Mike Regan’s wife and daughter, with the character taking on an unhealthy obsession with the young daughter. In a smarter and more original film, Ed’s manipulation of Rose’s medical records and the secret recording of Kaitlyn in the shower could add a layer of unsettling tension, but I.T. doesn’t take this beyond the generic frame of a creepy, vindictive stalker story. Even more absurd, Rose takes out the blame for everything the family is going through on Regan because he invited him over that one time – therein lies the real failings of I.T. as the film never takes the time to establish any relationships or mindsets before turning Ed into a manipulative villain.
I.T. is simply a bad movie featuring a startling lack of imagination in every aspect of its being. It doesn’t dare to use its unsettling subject matter reflect the issues of the day, issues that are incredibly relevant and broadly universal. Instead this is a movie that is just stuck in the ‘90s mindset without the intelligence to even lampoon all the clichéd elements that it revels in. From the start it’s obvious that I.T. simply isn’t working right. I don’t anyone tried turning it off and on again. That might’ve fixed it.
- Overall Score
An unimaginative movie that seems as if it has been sitting on the shelf since the ’90s, I.T. says nothing about the modern era of digital surveillance in a generic thriller constructed by the numbers.