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Cypher

A much more highbrow Total Recall , asking the question; who are we really?

Thursby (Northam) is a suburban dwelling, golf playing company man, travelling across America from one dreary corporate conference to another. At least, that's his cover. In reality (hidden even from his wife), he a corporate spy, planted as an employee of the enemy firm to record sensitive information and transmit it out of each boring conference.

Approached by an alluring, mysterious woman (Liu), he starts getting the idea things aren't quite right by cryptic warnings and messages (via her) from some shadowy, even more secret organization that seems to have the drop on what he's doing.

Things descend into maddening confusion (at times for us as well as the characters), all of us asking who he really works for, who he really is, and who's manipulated or reprogrammed him into thinking he's somebody he's not.

There are too many clues about what's going on for the twist ending to really make an impact even though it rounds out the story well.

Where it tends to suffer a little is in its over sterilisation. Yes, it was depicting a mundane, generic world, but Northam never shows any charisma or emotion that gives you an inkling of his point of view, making it harder to judge the intentions of the plot or premise.

Everything from the design of the sets as well as the scripts are just a little stilted. Even though the imagery is extreme in it's detachment from any emotion or warmth, it is powerful. But the whole package could have been a little more accessible.

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