Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA/Canada, 2003. Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks, Davis Entertainment, Lion Rock Productions, Solomon/Hackett Productions, Province of British Columbia Film Incentive BC. Screenplay by Dean Georgaris, based on the short story by Philip K. Dick. Cinematography by Jeffrey L. Kimball. Produced by Terence Chang, John Davis, Michael Hackett, John Woo. Music by John Powell. Production Design by William Sandell. Costume Design by Erica Edell Phillips. Film Editing by Christopher Rouse, Kevin Stitt.
Another Philip Dick story makes it to the big screen, a fun one free of intellectual challenge or even a fully comprehensive plot. Ben Affleck plays a computer engineer who is hired by companies to pirate existing software for them to improve upon, followed by his having his memory erased to avoid any legal issues (the entire process is called “reverse engineering”). A big job comes up when a friend of his asks him to give three years of his life to a project which will then result in his having the entire time erased from his memory. Affleck performs the job, waking up three years later to discover that he has forfeited ninety million dollars worth of company shares and instead has only retained an envelope full of twenty odd personal items that act as clues. Slowly he begins to realize that before having his memory erased, he left himself a trail of information that would lead to possibly saving the entire world from destruction! The idea of that large problem being in Ben Affleck’s hands is scary enough, but he puts his all into accomplishing it. Uma Thurman is charming as the lady love who aids in the operation and even gets a few kicks of her own when the bad guys ask for it. John Woo’s direction emphasizes great stunts and elaborate fights over character development: though not entirely necessary in a cut-and-dry action film, a little bit of depth would have at least elevated the main characters above their Ken and Barbie personalities.