×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘I.T.’

Pierce Brosnan provides a welcome low-tech touch to John Moore's high-tech thriller.

With:
Pierce Brosnan, James Frecheville, Anna Friel, Stefanie Scott, Austin Swift, Michael Nyqvist.

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2679552/

Appropriately enough for a movie titled “I.T.,” there is a preponderance of hard drives, software, satellite tracking networks, cutting-edge surveillance systems, and banks of large-format monitors on display throughout director John Moore’s slickly produced techno-thriller. But it falls largely on the shoulders of lead player Pierce Brosnan to provide a welcome human touch to the proceedings, with his persuasive portrayal of an analog man in a digital world.

With his Irish accent a tad more pronounced than usual, Brosnan plays Mike Regan, a private aviation tycoon who’s poised to expand his business with a new Uber-style app that will allow aircraft owners to sublet their jets. Normally, Regan is not a man who’s comfortable with innovative technology; truth to tell, he often needs help from his wife Rose (Anna Friel) just to operate the coffee maker in their lavishly appointed “smart home.” And he’s extremely uncomfortable when his office computer system goes on the fritz in the middle of an important presentation.

Fortunately — or so it seems, at first — Ed Porter (James Frecheville), a temp I.T. worker, is able to get the system up and running again. Regan, relieved and grateful, asks Porter to rid his smart house of some technical glitches (slow wifi, etc.), and is so impressed by the young man’s handiwork that he offers him a full-time job. Nothing good comes from this.

Regan is a bit slow to pick up on his new hire’s vaguely creepy vibe. (By contrast, the audience spots him as a psycho early on, somewhere around the time Porter does ineffably scary karaoke in his car to Missing Persons’ “Words.”) But as Porter becomes progressively more aggressive in his presumptive efforts to become Regan’s new best friend — and, worse, evidences all the telltale signs of a stalker while fixating on Kaitlyn (Stefanie Scott), Regan’s nubile teen daughter — Regan opts to reinforce employer-employee boundaries. And when that fails, he angrily fires Porter, and warns the unstable techie to keep away from him and his family. Nothing good comes from this, either.

As in so many other techno-thrillers, “I.T.” pivots on the propositions that hiding places no longer exist, and hell hath no fury like a psycho scorned. Through unauthorized excursions on the information highway, and remote-control devices planted in Regan’s home and auto, Porter causes all manner of mischief, ranging from the sadistically cruel (he records Kaitlyn as she masturbates in the shower, then sends the video viral) to the almost-homicidal. Regan attempts to fight fire with fire by hiring a tech-savvy, CIA-tied “cleaner” (played with quiet authority by Michael Nyqvist) to beat Porter at his own game. Not at all surprisingly, however, an old-fashioned low-tech beatdown is required to wrap things up.

Brosnan is very effective at playing Regan as a wary technophobe who has become too comfortable with his power and success — so comfortable, in fact, he thinks nothing of asking a temp employee to do some pro bono tech repairs around his house — but retains, deep down, an alpha-male toughness that comes in handy when push comes to shove. It speaks volumes about Brosnan’s ability to convey middle-aged machismo that his occasional fisticuffs with the conspicuously younger Frecheville aren’t entirely incredible.

The screenplay by Dan Kay and William Wisher is little more than a serviceable conglomeration of clichés, and Frecheville relies far too much on ranting and raving as his character grows ever more unhinged. But director Moore (whose credits include “Behind Enemy Lines” and “A Good Day to Die Hard”) generates a fair amount of suspense during “I.T.,” most notably during a surprisingly gripping sequence in which Porter emails Rose a fake diagnosis of breast cancer. After that, even the most forgiving viewers doubtless will decide that this techno-sadist deserves pretty much anything that happens to him.

Popular on Variety

Film Review: 'I.T.'

Reviewed online, Houston, Sept. 21, 2016. Running time: 95 MIN.

Production: (Ireland-France-Denmark) An RLJ Entertainment release of a Fastnet Films production, in association with 22h22, Scanbox Entertainment, Voltage Films, Friendly Films, Irish Dreamtime, Mutressa Movies. Producers: David T. Friendly, Beau St. Clair, Nicolas Chartier, Craig J. Flores. Executive producers: Pierce Brosnan, Elika Portnoy, Valentina Gardani, Dominic Rustam, Frank Hildebrand. Co-executive producers: William Wisher, Macdara Kelleher, Babacar Diene, Peter Veverka. Co-producers: Dan Kay, Romilda de Luca, Sigurjon Sighvatsson, Leonard Glowinki.

Crew: Director: John Moore. Screenplay: Dan Kay, William Wisher. Camera (color): Ekkehart Pollack. Editor: Ivan Andrijanic.

With: Pierce Brosnan, James Frecheville, Anna Friel, Stefanie Scott, Austin Swift, Michael Nyqvist.

More Film

  • "Jade Dynasty" in front at the

    China Box Office: 'Jade Dynasty' in Front Ahead of Mixed Competition

    With “Jade Dynasty” in front, Chinese-made action and Asian animation films led the way at the China box office over the past weekend. Although a few American titles are in play, they’ve failed to attract a crowd.  Chinese action fantasy “Jade Dynasty” led the weekend box office in its debut with $38.1 million, figures from [...]

  • The Painted Bird

    Venice Competition Film 'The Painted Bird' to Be Czech Entry in Oscar Race

    Václav Marhoul’s “The Painted Bird,” which world premiered at the Venice Film Festival in the main competition and also played at Toronto Film Festival in Special Presentations, has been selected as the Czech Republic’s entry for the 92nd Academy Awards in the foreign language film category. The pic follows the journey of an unnamed boy [...]

  • Pakistan Picks Freshman Effort 'Laal Kabootar'

    Pakistan Picks Freshman Effort 'Laal Kabootar' as Its Oscar Entry

    Pakistan’s Academy Selection Committee has chosen “Laal Kabootar” as its candidate for the Oscars’ international feature film category. Directed by first-time helmer Kamal Khan, the gangland thriller set in Karachi’s underbelly follows the events that transpire when a woman in search of her husband’s killer is thrown together with a cab driver and petty criminal [...]

  • Atlantis

    Toronto Film Review: 'Atlantis'

    “It took you 10 years to cleanse this region of Soviet propaganda and myths,” says one character to another in “Atlantis,” going on to suggest that the devastation now left behind may never be “cleansed” at all. A strikingly bleak vision of a near future in which Ukraine has won its war with Russia but [...]

  • Beyonce Knowles'The Lion King' film premiere,

    ABC Announces Behind-the-Scenes Special for Beyoncé's 'Lion King' LP

    ABC has announced a new behind-the-scenes look into the making of Beyoncé’s “The Lion King: The Gift” LP, which is set to air September 16 on ABC at 10 p.m. EST. Titled “Beyoncé Presents: Making the Gift,” the new hour-long special will allow viewers to “experience the process” behind the “Lion King” companion album, according [...]

  • Jason Lei Howden, Samara Weaving and

    Daniel Radcliffe On Acting With Weapons Nailed To Your Hands

    How did “Guns Akimbo” director and writer Jason Lei Howden convince Daniel Radcliffe to play a character with guns nailed to his hands? Easy, he sent him the script. Radcliffe joined Howden and “Ready or Not’s” breakout star Samara Weaving in the Variety’s Toronto Film Festival studio, presented by AT&T to talk the limits of [...]

  • Box Office: It Chapter Two Maintains

    Box Office: 'It: Chapter Two' Continues International Reign With $47 Million

    Pennywise’s reign of terror hasn’t wavered: Warner Bros.’ “It Chapter Two” maintained first place on box office charts, led by another strong showing overseas. The sequel, based on Stephen King’s horror novel, generated another $47 million at the international box office for a foreign tally of $169 million. After two weeks of release, “It Chapter [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content