Blackhat is that rarest of things: a thriller with an almost meditative pulse. The art of hacking is explored with a perfunctory and workmanlike rigour, as are the cast, let down by Foehl’s script.
The characters are broadly sketched and as a result some of their actions feel rushed and unmotivated, namely the sudden romance between two key characters. Thankfully, Mann’s direction salvages things with an eye that crafts character through movement and gesture as much as speech.
His ever-adaptable direction builds tension and emotion far better than the script, but both are at fault for raising the stakes too little too late.
The plot is elegantly unravelled by Mann’s masterful hand, but the characters and their relationships are too lightweight to balance. Mesmerising and disappointing in equal measure.
CAST: Chris Hemsworth, Leehom Wang, Wei Tang, Viola Davis
DIRECTOR: Michael Mann
WRITER: Morgan Davis Foehl
SYNOPSIS: A furloughed convict and his American and Chinese partners hunt a high-level cybercrime network from Chicago to Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Jakarta.