Cypher (2002) starring Jeremy Northam, Lucy Liu, Nigel Bennett, Timothy Webber, David Hewlett, Kari Matchett directed by Vincenzo Natali Movie Review

Cypher (2002)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Jeremy Northam in Cypher (2002)


Morgan Sullivan (Jeremy Northam - Possession) is a bland little man with an uninteresting life but he hopes that is all going to change when he starts work for Digicorp where he is hired to be a corporate spy. Seeing himself as a smooth talking, whisky drinking spy he finds his missions to record conferences are just as bland as his normal life except he meets the striking Rita Foster (Lucy Liu - Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle). And then suddenly things start to take surprising twists for Morgan as he begins to learn the truth of what is going on.

When "Cypher" starts it made me think 50 shades of grey, no I am not on about the erotic book but visually it looked so bland, so grey that whilst this was intentional it was off putting. And to be truthfully honesty this purposeful grey look whilst important was in fact enough to drive you to sleep. But I will say stick with it as after a slow 30 minutes things start to get interesting as the twists start to come one after the other. The unfortunate thing is that I cannot go into what those twists are because to reveal any would spoil what turns into an entertaining movie.

Lucy Liu in Cypher (2002)

What I will say about "Cypher" is director Vincenzo Natali has crafted a movie high on visuals be it the blandness of the opening to the more high tech and colourful when the twists start to come. There are times when Natali comes very close to over doing it and turning "Cypher" into style over substance as every single scene has some stylish embellishment going on. In fact there are times when I just wished he would stop and give us something standard rather than using one of the many visual tricks he uses through out the movie.

The there is Jeremy Northam who I have to say I thought was going to ruin this movie going on the first 30 minutes. Those initial scenes where it is all very bland Northam plays Morgan a little comically which felt very wrong. But when the story really kicks in Northam manages to control that comical side of the character, that almost ineptness which threatened to spoil it. Plus there is Lucy Liu who whilst has a more dynamic character to play also occasionally suffers from a character who seems ill fitting for the movie.

What this all boils down to is that "Cypher" is not going to be for everyone as it is slow, you need to concentrate and often feels more style over substance. But for those who enjoy sci-fi movies where all is not as it seems then this is one worth watching and sticking with even if the opening seems extremely grey.