There is nothing worse than an intelligent science
fiction film not quite working. Smart sci-fi, stories that emphasize
ideas above giant robots beating the shit out of each other, is a rare,
dying breed. You’ve got to root for the little guy, the Moon‘s of the
world, because they’re fighting the power in an almost literal sense. I
blame Star Wars, but whatever, moving on, not going to start anything
there.


What I’m trying to say is that I really, really wish Transfer is a better film and it breaks my heart that it’s not.

It’s
the easy way out to describe a small science fiction story as “like an
episode of The Twilight Zone,” but Damir Lukacevic’s Transfer plays out
like a 90 minute episode of The Twilight Zone. The conceit is thus: in
the near future, rich old white folks can have their consciousnesses
transferred into the bodies of young, healthy, third world “volunteers.”
For twenty hours a day, the transferred consciousness uses the body as
its own. For four hours a day, the original mind “wakes up” and can have
a little free time.


Of course things go wrong. Of course they do. How could they not?

Transfer‘s
best quality is that it’s a conceptually smart film. Transfer‘s worst
quality is that it’s screenplay is pretty damn stupid. Smart and stupid
coexisting this closely is rare and occasionally fascinating, just not
fascinating enough to give Transfer a full recommendation.


The film operates on an obvious but effective metaphor: this is
slavery all over again and we’re witnessing a modern slave rebellion as
two minds from different backgrounds battle for control of the same body.
It’s not just a good idea for a movie; it’s a great idea for a movie.
However, the film is weighed by characters constantly making stupid
decisions, often because the plot requires them to and for no other
reason. It’s painful to watch potentially interesting characters played
by very talented actors (particularly BJ Britt and Regine Nehy, who are
saddled with playing several completely different characters in the same
body) make terrible decisions.


And then it all leads to an anticlimax, culminating with a whimper
and a plot twist that is not only unearned, but completely unnecessary.
It’s a moment treated as a grand reversal, a “You Didn’t See This
Coming!” moment, but it couldn’t be more underwhelming.


Transfer is a film that means well but doesn’t do well. It’s a simple
case of A for effort and C for execution, but unfortunately, the
thought only matters in gift-giving and personal relationships, not in
high concept science fiction films.


5 of 10