Movies that are slightly off.
Never forget who you are
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.
Cypher is a relatively unknown gem of a movie. Directed by Vincenzo Natali, who we have to thank for the splendid low budget mystery film Cube, we again are treated to another great idea, this time executed extremely well indeed. It looks stunning with some great visuals and cinematography, it's meagre budget was certainly eked out well.
The film follows Morgan Sullivan, a drip of a man who craves for a more exciting life and is bored with his mundane existence at work and home. He starts a new job working for a global computer corporation called Digicorp. His job seems very simple - travelling to various conventions around America to covertly record the speeches that are made by Digicorp's…
A very enjoyable, if a bit predictable, spy/noir/science fiction film.
The plot is beautifully structured and the pacing with which it is told is almost without fault. It has a lot of style and enough quirkiness to reach a level that is just a bit higher than most films of this type.
It is just a shame it tries to pull a couple of twists too many that I could see coming miles ahead anyway.
Then again, I probably watch too many movies...
I'm a pretty big Vincenzo Natali supporter. I tend to lump him in with Brad Anderson and David Twohy as keepers of the true B-movie flame due to the fact all three tend to make solid genres movies with modest budgets. And that's exactly what Cypher is: a solid sci-fi/noir made with style on a limited budget.
If you can take the couple of big CG scenes with a grain of salt, you have yourself a handsomely shot and fairly entertaining little movie that twists and turns along at a nice pace. The third act gets convoluted and it comes dangerously close to shitting the bed at the end (many would argue it actually does), but if you dig phildickian thrillers you may dig this.
Cypher is a good (not great) small budget mystery-thriller with a few sci-fi elements. If you watch it expecting something more akin to the Masterpiece Contemporary series than to The Matrix you'll be in the right frame-of-mind. It doesn't have big budget cinematography and some of the score is outright terrible and cheesy (is that a xylophone?), but whatever it lacks in polish it makes up for in story. Jeremy Northam and Lucy Liu are involved in some sort of mysterious maze that keeps you guessing almost to the end. The plot might be a tad over-convoluted and repetitious, and you might predict a few things, but that's ok. The ride is still fun.
lovely visuals throughout, dull greys contrasted with stark, sharply drawn black and whites. the relatively simple visual palette plays against the shady, murky goings on of the espionage world we're embroiled in. really sleek, yet hopelessly blurred lines between corporations and their motives regarding the title character are pretty much constantly in flux, and i really dug the sense of mystery it sustained for most of its runtime.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Dominate our attention for several minutes, with brief and intense lapses of excitement, is the least a movie can do for us. Most usually considered ''average'' films serve exactly that cup of tea, not much to be remembered, but innovative and stimulating enough to renovate the feeling of enjoying a movie with no further interest. The sci-fi/noir thriller Cypher lies comfortably in the realm of average productions described above.
Entertaining enough, stylish to delight the eyes, compelling to caught the minimum of our deliberation and with a capital twist in the plot to regale the enduring audience. These are basically the positive points. Althought, truth be told, it is hard to go wrong with a corporation's espionage story; this whole…
A thriller that's more slick than thrilling
Those 2000s graphics/special effects towards the end omg. Lol when the vault came up from the ground n they did a slight close up of it when the door was about to open, I felt like a blue alien was gonna come out and "I'm blue da ba dee da ba da" was gonna start playing.
A small, neo-noir thriller, about a corporate spy Morgan (Jeremy Northam), working for two competing technology companies, Digicorp and Sunways. Morgan is tasked with assuming the identity of Jack Thursby and attending different conventions and sending back all the information he obtains to Digicorp. However, he meets a strange woman, Rita (played by Lucy Liu) who hints that all he’s doing isn’t actually as it seems and that what he has experienced of Digicorp thus far has been a deception (somewhere on the level of “The Parallax View“). Soon Morgan finds himself caught between both companies, acting as agent and double agent, while trying to extricate himself. Rita continues to insert herself into his life, and no one is exactly…
Is paranoia a natural outcome of the free market? If we are all individuals striving to better our interests, then everyone else is out to get us. Cypher is set in a Sarah Palinian utopia: there seems to be no state but all is controlled by big corporations. Mild Jeremy Northam is hired to be an industrial spy by one corporation, turned to become a counter agent by a second – there are too many twists of deceit to explain (even if I could remember them)...and then there is Lucy Liu working for a freelance security adventurer. The film tries for more than just big action scenes, but has gloss rather than style, effects rather than emotion. In the end…
This is a type of movie I absolutely love...smart, twisty, low-budget Orwellian nightmare with powerhouse lead performances by Jeremy Northam and Lucy Liu, wonderful cinematography by Mr. Natali who has gonna on to DP for a number of episodes of the visually orgasmic Hannibal on NBC.
The performances are too laconic to keep the plot from overwhelming the characters so much that it becomes difficult to care enough to keep track of all the twists, unraveling conspiracies and double-crosses. But the high style and cyber-noir overtones are striking and impressive enough on the direct-to-video scale to keep you going till the end.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
one of the moments in the film that worked best for me was the subtle humor of the dull protagonist's disgust at the idea of being placed into a new life of humdrum suburbia because he'd 'adjust well'. as he argues against this, all of the hobbies he lists off as being indicative of who he really is are equally banal, but to him connote luxury: smoking, drinking scotch, playing golf
then the late reveal of his true identity just retroactively removes all the humor from that by actually indicating that those things are who he truly is and what he truly enjoys, and that this is a meaningful distinction. that alone didn't ruin the movie but it feels like a salient example of where the film falls flat at creating a reason to care about what's going on
The low budget charm mixed w/an intelligent plot of Cube has all been abandoned on this effort by director Vincenzo Natali.
Bludgeoning w/incoherence, stifled wooden acting, underwhelming script, and woeful CGI this manages to have a signature Natali look and feel w/o the fun. It's on the wrong side of being a SyFy film that happens to have Lucy Liu looking to revitalize her career. Now that isn't the case, but that's what its lasting impression was to me.
Can't help but feel the failure of this film is justified due to its hyper stylized overconfidence. Natali directs his cast w/such oblivious dedication, it's kind of mindblowing to see this play out in such cheesy fashion that it does. Nobody…
This did not age well, the CGI is laughable. Liu and the twists are still great in this sci-fi spy noir though. Northam plays his role like a pro, but I'd like to see it with his and Lucy's roles reversed. Shot in the shoulder! Director of Cube and Splice keeps this one-word movie eye-catching.
"Brian King's screenplay make this a fast paced science fiction adventure very much of the style of Philip K. Dick."
- Mark R. Leeper, rec.arts.movies.reviews
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