John Woo directs Ben Affleck, Uma Thurman and Aaron Eckhart in this sci-fi thriller where a man has his memory wiped to delete the corporate espionage he has committed – only to wake up and find he has forfeited his million-dollar paycheck for an envelope of small random everyday objects.
Based on a Philip K Dick story. And it has that familiar shape. Man has his brain messed with. Tries to figure out who he is while the insidious authorities chase him all over town. Problem is everyone is off form and out of sync. The “future” is too subtle… no Total Recall or Minority Report world building here… and therefore underwhelming. The central conceit of the hero escaping scrape after scrape using his ingenuity to figure out which trinket gets him out of which trap never really has a bold enough pay-off to be worth championing. Woo reigns back the action. Only a kinetic motorbike chase has the old The Killer magic. He’s more interested in making a romantic, suave riff on North By Northwest or To Catch A Thief. But Affleck (who you know I like) is too smarmy and jock-ish to be a Cary Grant… while Thurman is not given enough screentime. The frustrating thing is if even two of these missteps were rectified then there would be quite a decent action romance here.
Perfect Double BIll: The Adjustment Bureau (2011)
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