Sci-Fi Weekend: ‘Cypher’

Cypher,” a 2002 Sci-Fi thriller, stars Jeremy Northam and Lucy Liu.  The movie also goes by title, “Brainstorm,” saw limited release in the United States.  The plot relates story of high tech espionage between two corporations, Digicorp and Sunway Systems with Morgan Sullivan (Northam) recruited as an agent and double agent by the rivals.   “Morgan Sullivan (Northam), a recently unemployed accountant, is bored with his suburban life…pursues a role in corporate espionage. Digicorp’s Head of Security, Finster [Nigel Bennett], inducts Morgan, and assigns him a new identity. As Jack Thursby, he is sent to conventions to secretly record presentations and transmit them to headquarters. Sullivan is soon haunted by recurring nightmares and neck pain. When he meets Rita Foster (Liu) from a competing corporation, his life starts to become complicated…Morgan discovers that all the convention attendees are spies like him, and all thinking themselves individual spies working for Digicorp. While they are drugged from the served drinks, plastic-clad scientists probe, inject and brainwash them. Individual headsets reinforce their new identities, preparing them to be used, and then disposed of.  Morgan manages to convince Digicorp that he believes his new identity. He is then recruited by Sunway Systems, a rival of Digicorp. Sunway’s Head of Security, Callaway [Timothy Webber], encourages Morgan to act as a double agent, feeding corrupted data to Digicorp.  Morgan calls Rita, who warns him that Sunway are equally ruthless, and that he is in fact being used by Rita’s boss, Sebastian Rooks. Morgan manages to steal the required information from Sunway Systems’ vault, escaping with Rita’s help,”  informs Wikipedia plot summary.

Rita takes Morgan to meet her shadowy boss and lover, Sebastian Rooks, a rogue operative for hire by corporations, whose face remains unknown. In a hotel penthouse, Rita spells beans he is, in fact, Sebastian Rooks not Morgan Sullivan.  Rita reminds Morgan Sullivan-Sebastian Rooks of her attempt to dissuade him from this latest espionage.  Rooks subjected himself to high tech brainwashing used to hide his true identity, in order, to steal computer disc from “the Vault,” an underground high tech facility in rural Kansas, a repository and brain center of Sunway Systems.

Morgan in bewildered panic unable to escape locked room had already phoned Finster for help, which results in corporate SWAT teams arriving in short order from Digicorp and Sunway.  Morgan flees with Rita to rooftop when confronted by armed forces.   The next to last scene on penthouse rooftop has Rita coaching Morgan to remember his true identity, so they can escape in high-tech helicopter Rooks designed.  Rooks succeeds and hovers craft over rooftop with both Callaway and Finster, left to realize too late Morgan Sullivan is actually Sebastian Rooks as they catch glimpse of his face inside copter.  The rooftop and SWAT teams are blown up as helicopter flies off from blazing scene.

The last idyllic scene takes place on board a sailboat upon open seas, where Sebastian reveals content of computer disc to Rita – and ultimate love tale. The computer disc – main contested object – in the thriller contains Rita’s identity with visible designation to “Terminnate with Extreme Prejudice.”  Now, Rita Foster’s identity is safe from corporate world as Sebastian tosses it over the side.  The present writer doubts if love trumped high tech thriller, but found movie highly entertaining!  Internet only makes it better, because admission on You Tube is free!

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