It is not very often that my husband wants to go to the movies, so when he called me yesterday and asked if I'd be interested in seeing a sci-fi flick I couldn't turn him down. I knew nothing about The Signal other than that Lawrence Fishburne was in it until we got to the theater last night and I'm not sure that I know all that much more about it now.
My husband made the comment that The Signal seems less like a film and more like a Rorschach Test - you make of it what you will. There is a superabundance of metaphor and stunning imagery but little actual content.
I tend to agree with his assessment; none of the characters are particularly well developed and the story is tenuous at best, but everything you see is beautiful. Someone went through this movie, the cinematographer, the director, the art director, or the set dresser, with a loving eye and turned out a product that is immensely visually pleasing.
I do have one major gripe with the film and it's the women: the main character has a girlfriend called Hayley who almost counts as a character but ends up as a plot device instead. She's literally dead weight for at least 70% of her screen time and the other 30% of the time she's not a character so much as she is the personification of emotion. There are several ways this movie could have been cooler and one of those ways is to actually make use of a character who's getting a bunch of screen time instead of spending so much time on lovingly lingering facial shots.
Also, I do have to say this: the thought of any kind of hacker saying "we're going to expose you at DefCon" is just absolutely laughable. So laughable that my husband and I, who have attended DefCon for years as Humans and Goons, actually laughed out loud in the theater. The last time I saw someone "exposed" at DefCon it was a shitty undercover reporter who was trying to do a Chris Hansen type story about the evil haxors and got chased out by the hackers. Wrecking MIT's servers isn't something you would want to hide from the DefCon community, it's something that we would laugh about over drinks. C'mon, guys - we've been telling you who we are for years; does Hollywood still think that we're out to hack the planet? I guess so, even if "Hollywood" is an indie flick.