Based on a Philip K. Dick story, Paycheck is about a high-tech genius (Ben Affleck) who has his memory erased by his employer (Aaron Eckhart) as a security precaution once he's completed special projects.
After finishing his latest, which has taken three years, he receives not his usual lucrative paycheck, but an envelope containing 19 items, including ticket stubs, bus tokens, and other reminders he sent himself before the procedure. He's told he chose to forfeit any monetary compensation.
The problem is, he can't remember a thing, since his brain has been wiped clean. With the help of a co-worker (Uma Thurman) who he's become involved with during the course of his 3 year contract, he tries to retrace his steps and figure out what's happening before his employers can eliminate him.
Another classic Woo rendition of an action-packed plotline, but with seamless special effects to help you forget the slight over-acting that slips in here and there. With an excellent performance from Ben Affleck and a reasonable performance from Uma Thurman, the storyline chugs along quite nicely. Based on the book by Philip K. Dick (who also wrote the stories that inspired the movies Bladerunner, Total Recall and Minority Report), this story revolves around Michael Jennings, genius engineer with a talent for reverse-engineering (taking a final product and stripping it back, working out how it was made and with what, then redesigning it better.)
His guarantee of confidentiality is made unbeatable, because at the end of each contract he has his memory of the job wiped out, leaving him in a position of absolute trust... the job simply never happened for him, just a few weeks of his life gone and a big paycheck in hand for his services.
Then along come a friend, with an offer. 3 years of his life, in exchange for a guarantee of at minimum paycheck of $10 million... and maybe a lot more. The catch: He doesn't get told what he'll be working on until after he agrees to do the job.
With romance, high-sci-fi, action, betrayal, intrigue, and an unusual method of communicating to his post-memory-wipe self, this movie holds some attraction alright. If you dig hard-science, you won't get much from this, but the movie held my attention nonetheless.
Overall, an excellent movie, but not a classic... unfortunately, just like all the other Philip K. Dick movies I have seen. These ones won't get added to my DVD collection until they are priced under $20.
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"Ever notice that 'what the hell' is always the right decision?"
Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962)