The Bottom Line: A thrilling and surprisingly fun film.
In the year 2007, memories can be erased almost as easily as they can be created. With corporate security being of top concern, this technology is in high demand for corporations who hire people to work on sensitive projects.
Michael Jennings (Ben Affleck), is a master of technology, and as such, is in high demand for his ability to reverse engineer technology. Companies hire him to work in private to unlock technological secrets of their competition and upon completion of his work; Jennings has his memories of his work and time at the company removed. This arrangement protects the companies, as they do not have to disclose how they came about the new technologies and the only person who can attest to the source of the work has no memory of it making the claim valid, and keeping him from being able to recoup long-term profits from the company.
Jennings is well paid for his work, and has recently completed a two-month job when his friend Rethrick (Aaron Eckhart), asks Michael to come work on a secret thee-year project for his company. Michael is told only that it deals with optics and that he will be paid with stock options worth hundreds of millions of dollars. After thinking about the deal, Michael agrees to the job and sets out to complete the task ahead of him.
In what seems like a few minutes to him, Michael comes to in the office of Rethrick and is stunned to learn that he has completed his work and that it was a huge success.
Pleased, Michael sets out to collect his payment but is surprised to learn that he forfeited his stocks four days earlier and sent himself an envelope containing various mundane items such as paperclips, ball bearings, matches, and keys.
Before long, Michael is running for his life and attempting to unravel the mystery of the missing three years in his memory.
Based on the short story by renowned Sci-Fi author Phillip K. Dick, and directed by famed action helmer John Woo, Paycheck is a pleasant and entertaining surprise. The previews do not do this film justice, as it is an entertaining and engrossing film with good supporting work by Uma Thurman and Paul Giamatti.
There are a number of twists and turns to the story and some good action and humor along the way. Affleck does solid work as a man desperate to solve the mystery and struggling to cope with his life spun out of control.
While the ending was a bit to Hollywood for me, Paycheck is a solid and entertaining film and worth seeing.