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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "trust is not an option"
Stunning, imaginative visuals highlight this sci-fi thriller, an intricate story of multi-layered brainwashing that is actually better on the second and third viewing, because of its maze of plot twists that one can get lost in, and knowing the ending doesn't lessen the impact of the drama.
The brainwashing scenes are brilliant, where a group attends lectures on...
Published on 18 Jun 2005 by Alejandra Vernon

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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shallow but very intriguing and entertaining
There is less than meets the eye to Cypher. Though not based on a Philip K. Dick story, it might as well be, its story of brain-washing, industrial/corporate subterfuge, moral dilemma, confusion and loss of identity fitting in well with the likes of Minority Report.
But for all the implicatins of its plot and narrative red-herrings, this is not the byzantine,...
Published on 14 Mar 2004 by plautusjuvenal


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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "trust is not an option", 18 Jun 2005
Stunning, imaginative visuals highlight this sci-fi thriller, an intricate story of multi-layered brainwashing that is actually better on the second and third viewing, because of its maze of plot twists that one can get lost in, and knowing the ending doesn't lessen the impact of the drama.
The brainwashing scenes are brilliant, where a group attends lectures on subjects like "processed cheese" and "shaving cream distribution", and in paranoid moments makes me wonder what might be really happening to our brains while watching the average news/entertainment + advertising fare on our televisions.
These scenes are a little like the 1962 "The Manchurian Candidate", only using futuristic technology.
Jeremy Northam is terrific as "Morgan Sullivan", whose reality gets distorted and personality split into several identities. His confusion and fear are believable, and he handles the few action sequences with aplomb. Lucy Liu is strong and beautiful as the mysterious Rita, whose coded telephone number is Job 13:17, "Hear diligently my speech, and my declaration with your ears".
Vincenzo Natali directed this award winning film with stylish flair, a sleek sophistication, and with excellent pacing and some heart-thumping tension. The cinematography by Derek Rogers is marvelous, with a rather stark look, and the score is atmospheric and lovely, by Michael Andrews.
Intriguing, well acted, and with fascinating imagery, this is more of a mental adventure than the typical "blow 'em up" action film, and deserves being seen more than once for full appreciation.
No graphic violence, no nudity, and only the occasional four-letter word make this film suitable for a large audience.
Total running time is 95 minutes.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sleeper spectacular, 6 July 2005
By 
D. Newstead (Middlesex UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Wow what a joy to see a film that did not get hyped out of all proportion and yet is a real gem to watch. The film never pretends to be something that is going to be easy to watch from the word go but the amazing plot and the twists are incredible. The action is great and you never really know what is going to happen next. The film involves one average everyday software computer spy who gets heavier and heavier into stealing secrets from the opposing companies, Norton is perfect in the role as is Lucy Liu, just an all round marvellous film.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cooler than an eskimo's underpants!, 24 Jun 2005
I watched this film on the recommendation that it was directed by the same guy who directed "Cube". Yet again he proved that without an enormous budget, or big stars, you can create a great film.
Jeremy Northam was an excellent choice as the lead role. He looks like your average joe and that's exactly how he plays it. It's a stroke a genius to do this as it draws the viewer (a real life average joe) right in and creates a sense of empathy for the main character.
The plot was excellent, incredibly refreshing, and the film had a cool feel - although some of the CGI was a bit naff.
This film is a rollercoaster ride and will keep your interest right up to the credits.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very cryptic movie, 29 Mar 2005
This film is extremly slick and stylish, the cinematography is one to be admired.
There are alot of hidden messages through out the film which are slowly revealed towards the end.
I enjoyed the film on a whole but I think there could be allot more to the story, very much like the CUBE which has a sequel and a prequel.
Overall if you love scifi the its worth a look.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An unexpected gem, 30 Dec 2011
Part The Usual Suspects [DVD] [1995], part Identity [DVD], and part Paycheck [DVD] [2004], this stylish thriller is an excursion into identity.

Jerry Northam is recruited into industrial espionage for DigiCorp in order to spy on Sunway Systems. However during his induction an attempt is made to brainwash which is thwarted by Lucy Liu, who convinces him to play along.

What follows is an excursion into understanding who we are, and what makes us the way we are.

The filming style is sharp, in a film noir high contrast sense, and I really liked the heavy use of black and white sets and images without necessarily having to film in that medium.

That said, this is not perfect, and there are some sizeable holes towards the end.

If you like a "who is he really"? type film then you will like this. If you are looking for film where you don't have to concentrate, then this is not for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 19 Jan 2011
A great underrated film, like all of Vince's work.

Great film, it has the cast, the story and the style all rolled in one. If you like a film that you actually have to watch to enjoy then this is perfect.

Also has hours of interesting special features, something most mainstream titles don't bother with, even things like Inception only had very short and largely unrelated bonuses.

Must buy for fans of film and especially fans of Vincenzo.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Natali does it again!, 27 Mar 2009
By 
I cannot believe he is not a big hollywood hotshot! Vincenzo Natali brought us 'Cube' in 1997 (a film i would definately recommend) and watching this film, i can see him showing off more of his BRILLIANT directing ability. Morgan Sullivan (Northam) is a suburban guy with a miserable marriage and in an attempt to spice things up he signs up as a secret agent for technology giant, digicorp. Things then take a turn for the worse as he makes a discovery about his true purpose, switches sides, switches again, is given a new identity and meets the mysterious Rita (Liu).
This film is excellent and has a feel similar to that of 'The sixth day'. It blends thriller with sci-fi in a world where companies spy on eachother to find out secrets. Acting is top notch from everyone. (Fans of cube might recognise David Hewlett as Virgil Dunn.)
That said, Cypher is not a film for somebody who wants non-stop actin. Go watch 'The Matrix'. The film has quite a bit of story and character development and an ending that kinda suprises you! All special effects are handled proffesionaly and nothing looks out of place, making Cypher look like a high budget blockbuster which i dont think it was.
If you liked 'Cube' then you will probably enjoy more of Natali's work and i would say this is a pretty damn fine movie. It is probably worth getting the rubbish one disc edition if all else fails but really try and snap the two disc one up as it looks extremely cool and has special features such as a commentary track with this inventive and brilliant Canadian director.

The next Natali film will be 'Splice' coming sometime in 2009. Hope all goes well. I know it will.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Thriller, 6 Aug 2004
Many movies today are marketed today with a glossy trailor and a big star that promises much and almost always delivers little.
I have never come across the trailor for Cypher and since it has no big stars I rented it beacuse I enjoyed the director's previous film, 'The Cube'.
This is a terrific movie. Set in the near future, it follows an average businessman becoming a corporate spy. The style is very 'Gattaca' with subtle colour schemes, clothing and believable new technology painting an antiseptic tommorrow.
It also re-enforces a few of my own opinions about sales and marketing conferences.
The plot is devilishly complex but never difficult to follow.
Jeremy Northam is perfect for the part of the goody-two-shoes
backroom boy looking for a career thrill and finding himself totally out of his depth. it would have been nice if he played it without the American accent though.
As the conspiracies and manipulation unfolds, each scene adds a discovery and dimension to the tale. This is a film that holds your attention as Northam tries to break free from his 'pawn' status.
If you like smart movies that are plot driven you'll love this.
It has the feel of the Michael Douglas film 'The Game', the already mentioned 'Gattaca' and the directors previous hit, 'The Cube'.
A clever file with good acting and a great original story that keeps you intrigued. Its a shame it's not better publicised but then again if it were, it probably wouldn't be as good.
As a footnote for 'marsoed ' from Telford who didn't get the ending. In the last scene, take a longer look at the laptop screen and the text super-imposing the portrait. It's plain as the nose on your face the reason for the mission!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars disorientating, artificial and stylish like no other, 15 Mar 2004
By A Customer
superficially this film is a story about espionage and counterespionage. but the plot is hardly the reason one would see this film. it is rather an impressive exercise in style. every shot has an eerie contrived quality to it, from its use of colour--most scenes are nearly monochrome--to the unusual camera angles. the result is disorientating and lends an unreal, often paranoid feel to most scenes. the sound, too, supports the claustrophobic atmosphere. if colour is used at all, it, too, appears artificial and surreal. as the plots develops, the reason behind this style becomes apparent. the audience is as confused as the protagonist, not knowing what and whom to believe, engulfed in a nightmare from which there is little chance of escape. only later in the film, as the protagonist reappoaches "the real world", do the scenes look more naturalistic.
The two main actors work well in this film. especially lucy liu's poker face leaves the audience guessing as to which side she is on, yet there is always a hint that behind her controlled facade there is a depth of feeling, which is explained towards the very end of the film.
whatever one may think of the story line, this film is entirely unique in its style and worth watching, and probably more than once.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Stuff, 15 Feb 2014
By 
Charles Vasey (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cypher [DVD] (DVD)
It's Totally Twisty Time in this excellent movie about full-contact industrial espionage in which dystopian American companies brain-wash, drug, fool and then pop their agents at will. The whole thing is wonderfully played and will keep you guessing for a long time.
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Cypher [DVD] by Jeremy Northam (DVD - 2008)
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