Reviewer's Rating 4 out of 5  
Cypher (2003)
15 Contains strong language

The Manchurian Candidate gets a millennial update in this stylish thriller from Vincenzo Natali (whose 1997 debut feature Cube became a cult hit).

Natali has upped the ante this time, casting name actors (Jeremy Northam, Lucy Liu) and widening the scope to embrace a variety of futuristic locations.

But the same claustrophobia and tension which made Cube such a nerve-shredding experience are maintained in a complex story of industrial espionage that also tackles issues of identity, perception, and control.

Northam is Morgan Sullivan, a humble accountant who dreams of a life of adventure. When shadowy multinational company Digicorp offers him a job as a company spy, he jumps at the chance - only to find his 'spying' involves little more than attending trade conventions and recording the proceedings.

At one such event Morgan meets Rita Foster (Liu), a sultry femme fatale who reveals that Digicorp is secretly brainwashing him. The discovery leads him to another corporation, Sunways, and a new role as double agent. But in a world where nothing is quite what it seems, who can he trust?

Matrix fans might guess what comes next, but that doesn't make Cypher any less compelling.

Set in a nightmarish America where every city looks the same, and colours have been bleached out of existence, Natali seeps his yarn in an Orwellian atmosphere of paranoia - a spell only broken by a climax that unimaginatively resorts to standard Mission: Impossible heroics.

End Credits

Director: Vincenzo Natali

Writer: Brian King

Stars: Jeremy Northam, Lucy Liu, Nigel Bennett, Timothy Webber, David Hewlett, Kari Matchett

Genre: Action, Science Fiction, Thriller

Length: 95 minutes

Cinema: 29 August 2003

Country: USA

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