There is a well-used footballing cliché that describes a game of two halves. If there was ever a film where this lazy terminology was most apt, it would be the Pierce Brosnan techno-thriller I.T., a film so easily split right down the middle as to appear created by two entirely different teams who had never conversed on the matter.
Brosnan plays Mike Regan, a man with everything. Arrogant and self-obessesed, Mike owns a private airline and despite having little technical knowledge has come up with an app for the super-rich. Like some kind of the private jet Uber, the app will let his customers know when there is a jet nearby so they don’t have to slum it with the common people. Only there’s a problem: on launch day a glitch appears and the only person who can sort it out is temporary I.T. advisor Ed (Frecheville). Problem apparently solved, Mike invites Ed to run a diagnostic on his smart home, one thing leads to another, and before you know it Ed has hijacked his boss’s home security system. Cue Mike’s life getting seriously messed with.
Although Ed is clearly one microchip short of a circuit board from the beginning, and Mike’s reasons for taking him under his fatherly wing are insubstantial at best, the first half of I.T. is a decent thriller. A little formulaic in parts, the story grips you despite the obvious flaws and even though you develop a pretty good idea early on just where things are headed, you’re looking forward to the journey. The problems arise in the second half when Mike cuts ties with Ed, and the latter embarks on his campaign to ruin the former. Nothing from here on feels at all believable, as the family suffer embarrassment – Mike’s daughter is somehow filmed by Ed “amusing” herself and the footage is spread around her school – and deeply troubling psychological trauma – Mike’s wife Rose (Friel) is given a falsely positive result for a cancer screening.
Further problems exist in the character’s motivations. Mike, while he has his faults, acts towards the boundary-crossing Ed similarly to how any protective husband and father would. Affronted by the rejection, Ed’s reaction is horrendously disproportionate, and removes any initial sympathy you may have had for the character.
Competently directed and decently acted, I.T. just doesn’t have enough depth of story and character development to sustain a ninety-minute movie. Early promise gives way to tedious repetition and a real sense of “couldn’t care less” as the plot meanders towards a finale that is predictably unsatisfying. I.T. is a film to put on last thing at night when you’re just a bit too tired for a full feature. You’ll doze off somewhere in the middle act, not remember it in the morning, and no harm will have been done.
I.T. / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: JOHN MOORE / SCREENPLAY: DAN KAY, WILLIAM WISHER / STARRING: PIERCE BROSNAN, JAMES FRECHVILLE, ANNA FRIEL, MICHAEL NYQVIST / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW