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Paycheck is a movie based on a short story by Philip K. Dick, about a man that has his memory erased after completing a job, and instead of receiving a large sum of money he was promised, he receives a parcel full of random, seemingly meaningless items.


Seriously, if you could look into your own future and see how things end up for you, would you change them? I’m one of those people that believe that who you are is the sum of all your experiences.  However, that is a statement coming from hindsight. No, I wouldn’t change my past. But really, how many of us would not take advantage of peeking into the future, and making the most of it? Especially if your future doesn’t look so good…


  • Starring: Ben Affleck, Aaron Eckhart, Uma Thurman
  • Rated: Rated PG-13 for intense action violence and brief language.
  • Released: 2003
  • Genre: Science Fiction, Action, Thriller
  • My Opinion: Excellent!


Michael Jennings is a brilliant engineer that takes top-secret jobs and has his memory erased at the end of each job for security reasons. It’s a good life, no memories of working 18 hour days in a boring white room, in exchange for a ridiculous amount of money. It’s an instantaneous Paycheck. However, when Jennings accepts a three-year job, the stakes are little higher, but so is the Paycheck. 90 million dollars higher!

When Jennings wakes up three years later, memory erased, the first thing he does is pick up that Paycheck. But instead of 90 million dollars, he is given a manilla envelope full of junk. Hairspray, matches, a quarter, a bus pass. In all, twenty items that aren’t worth more than a few bucks. Imagine his surprise when he realizes that he himself opted to forgo an 8 digit Paycheck in lieu of these items. But they sure come in handy when he needs to escape from the FBI and figure out what it was he was up to for three years.


Wow! An action packed adventure full of near misses and luck beyond measure. But I guess it’s not really luck, if you knew what you needed before you needed it right?

I just read the short story written by Philip K. Dick, and although the main idea is the same, the movie and the story were completely different. Both were smart and entertaining. In fact, I even enjoyed the movie more having just read the story. Dean Georgaris wrote a profound and intelligent screenplay, taking Dick’s ideas to a whole new level that I thought resulted in a fascinating, fast paced movie that I could watch over and over.


Be sure to read the review I wrote for Paycheck the short story at Best Science Fiction Stories. (While you’re there, browse through a ton of fabulous reviews for some great science fiction short stories at my brother’s website!)


Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise, another movie based on a short story by Philip K. Dick, about a man that has to prove his innocence for a crime he has not yet committed.