"So Let it Be Written... So Let it Be Done"

The life and times of a real, down to earth, nice guy. A relocated New Englander formerly living somewhere north of Boston, but now soaking up the bright sun of southwestern central Florida (aka The Gulf Coast). Welcome to my blog world. Please leave it as clean as it was before you came. Thanks for visiting, BTW please leave a relevant comment so I know you were here. No blog spam, please. (c) MMV-MMXV Court Jester Productions & Bamford Communications

Saturday, August 21, 2010

SNMR 8.20: "Paycheck"


When a company wants to develop new technology, they don't invent it themselves. They hire engineer Michael Jennings (Ben Affleck) to take an existing product and make it better. With the completion of each job, Jennings' memory is erased back to a certain point, so he can't be linked back to any one company's technology.

Most of these jobs don't last more than eight weeks, because that's the maximum time frame deemed necessary to keep the engineer's mind safe for the next job and the time passed feels instantaneous.

Then, at a party, Jennings meets Rachel (Uma Thurman) a beautiful bio-chemist who works for Jennings' friend Rethrick. At this party, Rethrick offers Jennings a job with an eight figure paycheck - that will last for three years - enabling Jennings an early retirement, if he so chooses. But when Jennings realizes that he's been betrayed, he must discover who is responsible and why using an envelope full of ordinary items...

Allcom, Rethrick's company, has Jennings developing a future reading device, similar to that technology seen in BIG SCREEN #50 review Krrish, and is predecessor, Koi Mil Gaya, if my memory serves me correctly.

What I can't figure out is how I missed watching this movie for so long. It only took me accidentally finding in in the $5 DVD bin at Wal-Mart several months ago to realize its existence.

John Woo is an excellent director and is no stranger to action movies and how they should work. Ben Affleck, with hard work, has become a competent and versatile actor with that debonair Cary Grant look. Uma Thurman is a proven action movie heroine (having done this film sandwiched around Tarantino's Kill Bill films). She plays well paired with Affleck. Aaron Eckhart is an excellent and very versatile actor in his own right and proves it with each role. Though I admit it has taken me a while to see this.

I have not read the source material but many of Philip K. Dick's short stories have been adapted successfully to the screen. Count this among them.

The Special Collector's Edition DVD that I watched contained two very well done featurettes regarding the design of the film and the sets, extended/deleted scenes and an alternate ending. Both Woo and Affleck admit in the extras that they were going for a Hitchcockian North By Northwest-ish feel to this film, and it does.

Maybe it took me so long to find and watch this movie because I wasn't a big Ben Affleck fan (aside from Good Will Hunting), and hardly knew who Aaron Eckhart was.

For those of you who like action and suspense, along with a well written and conceived story - this movie has all that. I was pleasantly surprised by this movie and, if you haven't seen it, you will be too.

***** out of *****

Paycheck (2003, PG-13, 118 minutes), starring Ben Affleck, Uma Thurman, Aaron Eckhart, Paul Giamatti, Colm Feore, Joe Morton and Michael C. Hall. Based on a short story by Philip K. Dick. Screenplay by Dean Georgaris. Directed by John Woo.



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