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Cypher (2002)

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.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Morgan Sullivan
... Rita Foster
... Finster
... Callaway
... Virgil C. Dunn
... Diane
... Amy
... Digicorp Technician #1
Stephen Brown ... Digicorp Technician #2
... Pilot In Mensroom
Jocelyn Snowdon ... Stewardess to Buffalo
... Fred Garfield
Steve Jackson ... Waiter Buffalo
Dan Duran ... Buffalo Speaker #1
... Buffalo Speaker #2
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Storyline

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 beansproutlord@yahoo.com.au

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A fascinating trip to the limits of imagination See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

18 January 2003 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Company Man  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,500,000 (estimated)
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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the final scene (on the sailboat) the information contained on the disc reveals numerous details about Rita Foster's life leading up to the reason Sunways Systems wants her executed; however, the text flashes past the screen too quickly for the audience to read. The following is the information exactly as it appears on the disc:

Sunways Security File # 247174y510987h3df8708 This is a Code Orange File. Any persons found in possession of this material without adequate Level 6 Security Clearance will be immediately prosecuted under Sunways Special Order 43875. FOSTER, RITA Sunways Security File #247174y514543gcfdgfc jge454u5 Foster, Rita A.K.A. Dr. Kelley Doris, Natassia Sarbinski, Amy Green, Namie Tsukemodo, Yi Fung-Yu, Kitty Wells, Ju Pau Killbit, Horatia Delusentopolis, Jill Hopkins, Akita Spools, Francesca Pistolesi, Dorlissa "Hurricane" Trubadore, Anias Schmidt, Antionette Dubois, Ilsa Von Kustanst, Erica Sinyor, Ika Vital Stats: Sex: Female, Race: Asian, Height: 5' 6'', Weight: 105 pounds Born: January 6, 1971 Education: Peking Opera, PHD in Criminology and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University Present whereabouts: Unknown Orphaned at the age of four when her parents were executed by government shock troops for "insurgency and anarchist ties". Rita Foster's original name was Tsing Lung. She was adopted by a family of circus acrobats known as the Panda Clan, famous for unusual "Panda-like" black markings on their skin. To protect her from the clutches of the state orphanage they painted ( * illegible text * ) to resemble their own and took her on a cross country tour. Under Panda tutelage, Foster became a first rate contortionist, performing in the small towns and villages which dot the countryside of the Southern provinces of China. In 1976, Hong Tao, a former strongman saw her act. Recognizing her talent, he brought her to the Peking Opera where she endured the rigors acrobat training. By the age of ten, she became a featured trapeze artist. In spite of her success, she longed to escape from the brutal life of the circus. During the 1982 world tour of the Peking Opera, she defected to the West. Her first home outside of China was in Rome, Italy, where she scraped together a living as street performer. Little is known of this period. It has been rumored that ( * illegible text * ) SABASTIAN ROOKS, who at that time may have orchestrated the illegal sale of priceless artifacts from the Vatican. The procurement of these religious objects was secretly ordered by the highest echelons of the Catholic Church to assist in easing its own financial woes. Foster may have been employed by Rooks to help steal these items from vaults hidden deep in the bowels of the Vatican City and later replace them with flawless forgeries. Most famous of these pieces was the Shroud of Turin which Rooks is rumored to have kept for himself. In 1983, exactly one year later, Foster crossed the Atlantic to New York. It is at this time that Foster acquired her American name and citizenship, presumably with the assistance of Rooks. Foster had little difficulty adopting to the American lifestyle having studied English in Italy. In a very short period of time, she became a fashion model. By the age of sixteen she was courted by New York's top agencies, but she turned her back on the fashion industry when she was accepted to Stanford University. There she studied behavioral sciences, eventually specializing in criminology. Her 1994 graduate thesis "Aberrant Behavior of the Unconscious Criminal" caused a great controversy, linking criminal behavior with the subconscious mind. Foster argued that latent identities exist in recesses of the cerebral cortex. Some of these identities are antisocial by nature and therefore inclined to criminal behavior. Her paper argued that these aberrant entities served an essential function in the evolution of our social design. "By challenging moral standards they invoke change." Therefore she reasoned antisocial behavior is a positive force for societal progression. So explosive was this notion that the Stanford psychology department tried to suppress the publication of Foster's findings. Angered but unable to fight back Foster turned her back on academia. At this critical juncture in her life, Rooks once again appeared on the scene. There is no clear evidence of their meeting but close friends of Foster claimed that she had been invited to a remote island in the South Pacific to spend time on Rooks' yacht. In 1996 all traces of Foster vanished. While there is no conclusive evidence to link her to Rooks' operations in this period, she may have participated in Rooks' famous "Triad Info Highjacking". This constituted a major security breach within the Triad of megacorporations, of which Sunways is a member. It would seem that Foster had come to embody her own thesis of the criminal mind. She is suspected of helping Rooks spread disinformation to Sunways' sister company, New Paths Technologies and send agents in Sunways' most sensitive information centers. By the end of 2000 it became apparent that Rita Foster was Rook's number one operative. Whenever Sunways has required Rooks' services, his chief representative has been Foster. While contact with her remains indirect, it appears that her relationship with Rooks may extend beyond the professional. In other words, Foster may be Rooks' Achilles heel. If she is destroyed, Sunways may have a chance of seriously damaging Rooks' counter-Triad operations. It is the recommendation of the Sunways Security Chief Francis C. Callaway that Rita Foster be targeted for elimination. This a Code Orange Termination Order. Code #48754354. Terminate with extreme prejudice. ( * over her photo * ) TERMINATE WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE

If all of this information is true, it adds another dimension to the story because Rooks and Foster have been troublemakers all along. They have not simply fallen victim to ruthless corporate brainwashing. They have a history of criminal conduct - coupled with criminal ideologies - which has embroiled them in the inner workings of these ruthless corporations. Now, they are forced to take desperate measures to eradicate their troubled past.

Then again, perhaps some or all of the information on the disc was simply fabricated by Sunways Systems to justify the termination order. For example: Security Chief Callaway may have a personal issue with Foster, so he has fabricated her past history to justify his issuance of her termination order.

In either case, the disc's information adds another dimension to the story.

As an aside, the following items are interesting to note:

1. The Sunways Systems security file numbers are similar for the first nine characters but change for the remainder of the string.

2. The surname of one of Foster's alias's is Killbit. A killbit is a security feature in web browsers (based on Microsoft technology) with the main purpose of closing security holes. If a security hole is located, a request can be made for Microsoft to put out a killbit for it. In the film, Foster is deemed a security risk so a killbit request - the termination order - has been put out for her.

Also, the surname resembles the film series _Kill Bill_ in which Lucy Liu portrayed O-Ren "Cottonmouth" Ishii.

3. Foster's height is listed as 5' 6'' whereas Lucy Liu is 5' 3'' in height.

4. Foster's date of birth is given as 06 January 1971. Vincenzo Natali, the film's director, was born on 06 January 1969.

5. Rooks's first name is misspelled as Sabastian on the disc. His true name is Sebastian Rooks which appears when he logs in to the console of the helicopter he designed. (Presumably, he knows how to spell his own name correctly, and has used the correct spelling while designing the login prompt.) See more »

Goofs

When Morgan is given his fake California ID, it shows a Blue and a Red Bar below the name and address. The Blue line is to denote a provisional license for those under 18 at the time of issuance, and the red bar is to denote what year the ID holder turns 21. Morgan appears to be in his 30's, so there would be no colored bars on his ID. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Sunways Security Guard: You planning a vacation, Mr. Sullivan?
Morgan Sullivan: No. No, just some reading to pass the time.
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Connections

References Total Recall (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Never Been In Love
Written by: Scott Nickoley, Stephen Lang, and Jamie Dunlap
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User Reviews

Stylish Film! Good Action Sequences!
24 July 2005 | by See all my reviews

There was a stylish approach to this film on the part of director Vincenzo Natali with interesting camera angles and effective close-ups. It was also refreshing to see Jeremy Northam and Lucy Liu given leading roles and expanding their range as performers. This film also included one of the most imaginative "escape" scenes in recent years. The efforts of the director and the actors combined in an effective thriller.

Although the plotting of the film was convoluted, the story progressed very clearly as the layers of corporate greed and skullduggery were revealed.

In 1949, George Orwell suggested in his famous novel "1984" that the future would be ruled by the totalitarian State, which would control minds and diminish human liberty. It was interesting that in this intriguing futuristic film, it was not the State, but rather the corporate world that controlled and devalued the human worker.


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