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Paycheck - Preview



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 three years.

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 action genre.

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: "It’s all the stuff about memory in this one, and the guy’s memory ties into how he lives his life and how he’s 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.


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