It is always strange to experience a movie that goes nowhere. Now I’m not talking about movies that take place in one location, I’m talking about movies that feel like they go nowhere. Where the character development isn’t enough to make any impact, the locations all feel interchangeable or soulless, and the story feels shallow. Combine the lack of movement along with an interesting concept that is squandered and you have a recipe for a real mess. Transference is not quite the ultimate mess it could have been, but rides the line so close that it just ends up being slow, forgetful, and bland, which is saying something for a film about superpowers.
The day that Joshua brought his sister Emma to the hospital after she attempting suicide, people near and far were also trying to commit suicide for no apparent reason. Believing this to be Emma’s powers affecting the public he hides her away, keeping her heavily sedated. The problem is the medication is becoming less effective and the money is running out. If Joshua doesn’t find someone who can help his sister, who knows what her powers will begin to manifest.
When confronted with difficult topics or situation it is understandable to make the dialogue match the tone to set the mood. However, when the dialogue stays moody regardless of the scenes we are shown or the tone never picks up, everything comes across as whiney. Moreso when your moody dialogue is delivered by characters who were told to sound tired, strained, exhausted, etc, you can hardly make them seem anything other then whiney. It is one thing to have your characters seem tortured, but when the only character with personality comes off as excentric playing against a cast of wet blankets, you have a problem.
A big complaint against a few of the Marvel movies was that some felt like they had little personality and were just instruments to add to the Infinity War plot. Transference feels like it is the prequel to a much grander movie that has yet to, and probably never will, come out. Every scene is setups to later moments that are barely explained or moments that apparently will be explained in the sequel. Many reviewers have talked about the final scene, and it being a fun twist or a big revelation and I honestly can’t tell you what it means. I rewound and watch key scenes again but every single section is vague to the point where it feels like the movie wants to keep secrets more than give the audience an enjoyable experience.
I could see Transference being a film shot in the 40s as a superhero-esque noir with mystery and intrigue. Unfortunately, it was made in an age where mystery is only seen as fun if only part of the audience gets it and it is wrapped up in single emotion characters that feel like they would be more at home in a teen drama. There is a lot that I wanted to like about this film but it ends up feeling like a movie that doesn’t like the audience and doesn’t want to be enjoyed.
3 out of 10