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  I.T. Smart Technology?
Year: 2016
Director: John Moore
Stars: Pierce Brosnan, James Frecheville, Anna Friel, Stefanie Scott, Michael Nyqvist, Jason Barry, Brian F. Mulvey, Clare Hope-Ashitey, David McSavage, Adam Fergus, Austin Swift, Melissa Veszi, Fionn Walton, Jay Benedict, Bruce Johnson
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Mike Regan (Pierce Brosnan) is an aerospace tycoon who has done very well out of his business, and now plans to expand it even further with an app that will bring in more custom - millions of dollars more. But if there's one thing he has problems getting his head around, it isn't his dealings with money men or engineers, it's the new-fangled technology that goes with it, Regan just doesn't understand all the possibilities and has relied on his electronics team to create the app for him, heck, he has trouble getting his coffee machine to work, and when on the big reveal of his project to potential clients the display crashes, he is truly stuck. Luckily, he has I.T. guys like Ed Porter (James Frecheville) who know their way around the tech...

What could possibly go wrong? Well, for a start a big Stephen King adaptation called It might be on the horizon when you're trying to publicise your movie and there's a chance audiences might get the titles mixed up, but in the setting of the plot, it's that paranoia that no matter how much you increasingly rely on technology in the modern world, there is always the concern that not being one hundred percent aware of what it was you were doing would leave you vulnerable. Basically this was one of those cyberthrillers that had begun to make their presence felt in the eighties, but by this time the possibilities of how you could be brought down by living your life as a slave to the internet or electronic security were ingrained in the back of everyone's minds.

Of course, simply being savvy when it came to tech was not going to mean you were a manipulative psychopath who used your skills to exploit others and get your jollies by spying on them, but this was thriller territory we were in, so Porter had to be one of those threats to the nuclear family that we had seen become more prevalent over the decades, also a trend from the eighties that really took hold in the nineties where the illusion of a normal domestic life would be shattered by some caustically invasive presence. So you can see, for all I.T.'s claims to be up to the minutes in the topics it was bringing to the table, there was a lot that was resolutely old-fashioned about it, or at least what had turned traditional in thirty years of popular cinema.

Still, there was an interesting streak of nastiness that ran through this which gave it more of an edge than its contemporaries, not horror movie style though the finale threatened to go slasher flick on us when Porter gets ludicrously overconfident as to his immunity to prosecution, but getting perilously close. Porter wants to worm his way into his boss's life (Brosnan sounding more Irish than he had in years) and claims they are friends after he sees to some glitches in Regan's home security, though naturally this is all the excuse for the creep to establish a surveillance using the gadgets therein which he watches from what can best be described as a lair in his apartment. One of the scenes he watches intently is Regan's daughter Kaitlyn (Stefanie Scott) masturbating in the shower, which if that doesn't make your skin crawl then you are made of pretty stern stuff.

As Regan twigs there is something amiss and confronts him, Porter goes on the offensive by getting up to such unpleasantness as distributing that shower video among Kaitlyn's schoolfriends, falsely making his wife Rose (Anna Friel) think she has breast cancer (see what I mean about nasty?) and crashing Regan's car by hacking its electronics. Of course our middle-aged hero goes to the cops, and they swiftly arrest Porter and he is put behind bars - oh, no, in fact they tell him they have no proof he has been up to any of this and actually cannot lift a finger against him in a cliché of the lawmen's hands being tied, though it was implied they resent Regan's wealthy status which excuses all sorts of bad behaviour against him. He then goes on the offensive, hiring a private detective (Michael Nyqvist) who allows him to take a hands on approach to securing that proof, only Porter is heading round the bend with alarming alacrity. It played out as you expected, and there was a cautionary element that offset the thrill sequences, but if it was not going to linger long in the mind, when it was unfolding it had enough grit to be diverting. Music by Tim Williams.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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