Cypher, also known as Brainstorm, is a 2002 film which I'd never heard of until I chanced upon it while glancing throught the TV schedules. It was billed as a "tricky thriller",which was just about enough to tempt me, and I'm glad I watched it. Though the most strking of the various plot twists reminded me of another, very famous film, it is intriguing from start to finish.
Jeremy Northam gives an excellent performance in the role of Morgan Sullivan, a nerdy character who gets involved in industrial espionage. A company hire him to spy on its rival, and he assumes a false identity. Soon he has reason to suspect the motives of Digicorp, his new employers, and he also becomes fascinated by a glamorous woman called Rita Foster, played by Lucy Liu, who appears to be working for the rival conglomerate, Sunway.
There are sci-fi elements to the story-line, but in essence it is indeed a thriller, playing with concepts of identity and reality. Sulivan becomes a double agent - but who is he really working for? Rita suggests that a mysterious individual called Sebastian Rooks is behind what is going on. But who is Rooks, and what is he trying to do?
This is probably a film that deserves to be watched at least twice, once with the knowledge of the central plot twist. I haven't done that as yet, but even on first viewing I enjoyed Cypher, partly because of the story-line, and partly because both Northam and Liu tackle fairly challenging roles with gusto.