Blackhat (Mann, 2015)


An exceptionally versatile aesthetic allows MANN to seamlessly transition between film types. Daring, Candid, and Different. MANN finds the viewer through pushing them away. Stay alert to enter his world; allow the film to push you away and you’ll miss its beauty. It offends the senses out of lack of familiarity, not out of lack of art. The film is a grower, faring better with each consecutive viewing.

Perhaps ahead of its time, Blackhat ought to be more appealing to film viewers of the near future, when such techniques no longer offend the senses. Much unresolved intention and overt sensationalism is the film’s only drawback. The affective image takes precedent over authentic inquiry into psychological motivation. Narrative continuity is compromised, intentionally, for complex character arcs. Incidentally, narrative integrity is compromised as well, making the film suffer slightly from unjust shifts.

Extreme selective focus with a telephoto lens obscures the world outside of what we’ve been privileged to see. Harsh lighting and a hand camera provide a documentary like feel. Fast and slow motion are together used to choreograph haunting action scenes. A beautiful musical refrain conveys tender sadness; another one conveys determination. Blackhat is five films in one. It is not what we’re used to, but maybe it’s where we are going.

86/100 – Excellent

4 Stars


About Kamran Ahmed

I have a Masters in Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto. I work as a freelance writer and film critic in Vancouver. My writing is primarily distributed through Next Projection, an online film journal based in Toronto.
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