An unsuspecting, disenchanted man finds himself working as a spy in the dangerous, high-stakes world of corporate espionage. Quickly getting way over-his-head, he teams up with a mysterious femme fatale.
Hoping for a more exciting life than the suburban drawl he currently inhabits, nerdy salary man Morgan Sullivan takes a job as an industrial spy at Digicorp, a global computer corporation. Digicorp assigns him the duty of flying to various conventions around America, recording the speeches that are made. But when Sullivan meets a mysterious woman he begins to realize that his job may not be what it seems, as he descends into a dark underworld of brainwashing and struggles to maintain his own identity. Written by
Morgan Sullivan's fake California Driver's License expires on 05-30-03. His birth date is listed as 08-13-65. An actual CDL would expire on the same day as the licensee's birth date. Even the cheapest of fake ID's wouldn't overlook this important point. See more »
I think this film has been somewhat overrated here. There are some things to admire in it; for one thing it deserves credit for being a science fiction(ish) film which relies on its story instead of special effects and action sequences to carry the day. The supporting cast is good, the set design and cinematography are good, and the ideas are interesting enough (though they are beginning to seem a little tired after the many mediocre Dark City / Memento / Fight Club clones of recent years). But the film is undone by poor characterization, wooden performances from the lead actors, and a laughably bad ending.
The main problem I had was that the protagonist was neither likable nor unlikable. I realize that part of the story dictates that he should be a bit of a (wait for it...) cipher, but I was utterly unable to work up any empathy for a character that just seemed like a boring, anonymous schlub of a man. What character transformation there is for this sad sack is artificially forced on him by the plot. Lead actor Jeremy Northam succeeds in conveying that the protagonist is confused and hapless, but fails at inspiring any sympathy for him. Opposite him, Lucy Liu does what she can with a character who has no real personality of her own, unless being the embodiment of a spy-movie cliché counts as personality.
One of the biggest disappointments of this movie is the ending. I won't give any spoilers here, but I will say that a surprise twist at the end was telegraphed pretty clearly at least 45 minutes before it occurred. Further, after being content to be a quirky, idea-oriented movie for the first hour or so, the last few scenes suddenly and terribly devolve into the worst kind of Hollywood pap, complete with big explosions and special effects. The revealing of the film's McGuffin at the end is poorly done, and at the end the characters seem even less likable than they did before some of the film's main plot threads were resolved.
The movie's not all bad, though. It does manage to maintain a certain low level of tension throughout most of it, despite the slow pacing (although I think I have a higher than average tolerance for slow-paced movies). And there are some moments when the unsettled, paranoiac feeling that director Vincenzo Natali was clearly trying to evoke rises to the surface. But in the end, these elements aren't enough to overcome the flaws in the film's acting and script. There is probably a good movie that covers these same themes and ideas, but this isn't it.
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