Preview by: Jack Foley
THE words 'adapted (or based) upon a story by Philip K Dick'
ought to be enough to get any sci-fi fan excited - although there
is cause for concern with Paycheck.
The movie stars Ben Affleck, who has been on something of a hit
and miss run, of late.
While everyone tries to forget the misery that was Gigli,
or the embarrassment that was Pearl
Harbor, it is maybe worth remembering that, when in the mood,
Affleck can turn in a good performance (witness Changing
Lanes, or early work, such as Chasing Amy).
Here, he is teamed with director, John Woo, and co-stars, Uma
Thurman, Aaron Eckhart and Paul Giamatti in a futuristic thriller
about a man who can't recall what he's been doing for the past
He's had his memories erased by his employer, as a security precaution,
and spends the subsequent movie attempting to figure out what's
been going on, using only ticket stubs, bus tokens, and other
reminders he planted as clues.
According to certain Internet reports, Affleck's life-long friend,
Matt Damon, was originally Woo's first choice to star, but never
got round to signing, paving the way for Ben to return to the
But whether the film makes the most, or squanders, the talents
of both its director and strong support cast, remains to be seen,
as advance word is hard to come by.
Thurman, hot once again off the bacl of Kill
Bill, plays the biologist/love interest, who helps Affleck
try to regain his memory, while Eckhart plays someone who holds
the key to Affleck's past.
Giamatti, one of the best support players in the business, compares
Paycheck to Face/Off in directorial style, rather than Woo's earlier
Hong Kong movies, while also promising that it also contains some
of the 'philosophical ambiguity' that made Minority
Report and Total Recall so cool.
He adds: "Its all the stuff about memory in this one,
and the guys memory ties into how he lives his life and
how hes not really living his life and that kind of stuff."
Eagle-eyed sci-fi fans may think that certain images and plot
strands provoke comparison with Vincenzo Natali's Cypher,
earlier this year, and there certainly do seem to be similarities
between the two (Natali, in an interview with IndieLondon, even
stated that his film drew on elements of Dick's work).
The movie is scheduled for a Christmas Day release in America
and in the UK on January 23, 2004.
Naturally, we will be bringing you the US reaction when it opens
- but the jury's out on this one.