Ponderance

(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

Sunday, August 03, 2003
Cypher

Meet Morgan Sullivan (Jeremy Northam); a nervous man, unsure of himself, he lives a dull suburban life, has no friends, and a domineering wife whom he despises. So, who better for the world of industrial information espionage? Morgan finds himself drawn to Digicorp, where he is rigorously security screened and interviewed; finally he passes all the tests and the interviewer asks, 'You'll have to lie to your wife. Will that be a problem?' and we see the first hint of a smile as he replies 'No, no problem at all.' With that, Morgan Sullivan starts playing the role of Jack Thursby, travelling across America to conferences at Digicorp's request, and covertly recording the proceedings. On his first mission, Morgan meets the enigmatic and mysterious Rita (Lucy Liu) who seems to know more than she's letting on. After a few jobs, Morgan starts to get terrible headaches and flashes, seemingly of another life. When Rita re-appears, she offers, Morpheus-style, to lead him to the truth about his own identity. And there begins a rollercoaster ride of espionage, counter-espionage, data smuggling, intrigue and layer upon layer of mystery.

Cypher is directed by Vincenzo Natali, whose amazing previous film Cube proved you could make good science fiction with very few effects and even smaller sets. Again, Natali has worked with minimal effects (although more than Cube) and has managed to create another visual masterpiece. Cinematographer Derek Rogers who also worked on Cube, returns to bring perfectly framed shots at every moment. Light and shadow are used brilliantly, giving this film both a visual and stylistic panache similar to other highbrow science fiction films like Gattaca. The story itself is a decent yarn, perhaps not entirely original, but certainly engaging enough to hold the audiences attention. Perhaps the most unsung hero of Cypher's production team in composer Michael Andrews.. Andrews' most notable past project was the amazing score for Donnie Darko, and he has achieved a similar level of haunting, provocative sound in Cypher (definitely a soundtrack to watch for). Overall, this film is Brazil meets what Johnny Mnemonic should have been like! Oh, and check out the Official Cypher Site; it's pretty!

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