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Paycheck (2003)

6.2
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 80,212 users   Metascore: 43/100
Reviews: 330 user | 190 critic | 34 from Metacritic.com

What seemed like a breezy idea for an engineer to net him millions of dollars, leaves him on the run for his life and piecing together why he's being chased.

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(short story), (screenplay)
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Title: Paycheck (2003)

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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Rita Dunne
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Maya-Rachel
Christopher Kennedy ...
Stevens
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Agent Fuman
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Agent Mitchell
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Jude - Guard
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Jane
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Storyline

Michael Jennings is a reverse engineer and what he does is technical jobs for certain companies and as soon as he is done, his memory of the work he has done is wiped out. Now the longest he has been contracted is 2 months. But now billionaire, James Rethrick offers him a job that would last 2 years, maybe 3, and he promises that he will probably earn 8 figures. Michael agrees. Before beginning he turns in all of his personal effects. And when the job is done, his memory is erased and he learns he made over 90 million dollars over the three years. When he goes to claim it and his personal effects, he discovers that prior to the erasure of his memory he waived his rights to the money he earned and that the items that were given to him were not the ones he gave when he began. Later he is arrested by the FBI who say that he committed some act of treason and murder. It's while he is in custody that he escapes using some the items that he was given. He later meets with a friend who gives ... Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

memory | engineer | money | time | secret | See more »

Taglines:

Everything's Under control See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense action violence and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

25 December 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El pago  »

Box Office

Budget:

$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$564,919 (Australia) (19 March 2004)

Gross:

$2,141,356 (Japan) (2 April 2004)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the making of included on DVD, John Woo says that the visual similarities in the lead character to Roger Thornhill from North by Northwest (1959), as well as similarities in chase scenes etc. are there on purpose. See more »

Goofs

From the date on his first paycheck we know it is 2004 but the calendar board says it is Friday December 22. 22 December 2004 was a Wednesday. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Holographic Woman: It's time to wake up... and get a life. We live in a 3-dimensional world. Until now, the world of computing has been a flat world, consisting of 2-dimensional imagery. Now, through the use of exclusive breakthrough technology, ARC has made it possible for you to get a life. A-Life, where we can work and play in a lifelike world of 3-dimensional reality. A-Life, the living monitor.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #21.144 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Conversations
Written & Performed by Paul Horn
Courtesy of Inside Music, Inc.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

It's like a 50s Sci-fi tale.
17 March 2004 | by (Orlando, Florida) – See all my reviews

This movie questions playing god with technology. In this case, the technology provides the ability to forsee the future. Ben Affleck plays Michael Jennings, a pretty suave computer engineer who hires out to various technology companies seeking to improve their product. His work is so promising that they require that his memory be erased, I suppose, so as not to leak trade secrets. With the expectations of a lavish paycheck, Jennings is willing to give up three years of his life to work on a top secret project. Except, when the project is complete and the memory erased, he runs into the snag--being out of cash and on the run from a fleet of wild gunmen hired by the company.

It's a good story, and one reminscent of a good 50s episode of the Twilight Zone. You'll even notice some old noir camera effects such as Jennings staring into a mirror with the camera at a cocked angle as he tries to figure out his dilemma. The story is also reminscent of Memento, in that a person with no memory who has left himself clues must solve the mystery.

I was reluctant to find good in this movie before I had even seen it because of two reasons: Ben Affleck and John Woo. John Woo, though working with a good story, lays on thick those couple of minute action scenes with everyone coming so darn close (yet so far away) from getting their heads chopped off by flying cars and all that mess. It really wasn't pivotal to the story, nor to the mood, but understandably, it is the director's trademark. Ben Affleck was pretty much inconsequential in his role as Michael Jennings, playing the same charming nice guy character he always portrays in nearly every role he's been in. Uma Thurman, as Jennings girlfriend and Watson to Jenning's Sherlock, got some cheers from the theater, as most of her quick kung fu leg work and perfectly timed reactions manages to knock out a few of their armed adversaries.

But, despite the flack that Affleck gets, or misdirected Woo's (which is pretty much any John Woo film...at least according to Homer Simpson), this is a pretty good science fiction story. Especially, given that somewhat undermined, but valid, examination of the technology race and what it could mean for the future of mankind.


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