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Michael Jennings has a great job. He's a reverse engineer, paid huge sums of money to figure out how rival technology works and improve on it. In exchange for his massive paycheck, he must have his memory wiped to prevent any information leaks. Life is good.

His latest project at Allcom was supposed to be his biggest yet, lasting three years and earning him enough money to finally retire - but something has gone wrong. His 8-figure payment has been replaced by a manila envelope full of random odds and ends. The FBI wants to talk to him about his apparent involvement in the death of another engineer. A lot of people are trying to kill him. Now Jennings finds himself in the strange position of having to reverse engineer his own future... before time runs out.

''Paycheck'' (2003) is a film adaptation of the PhilipKDick short story of the same name, starring Creator/BenAffleck, Creator/UmaThurman, Creator/PaulGiamatti, and Creator/AaronEckhart, and directed by Creator/JohnWoo. It was received poorly by critics, but made about $30 million more than its budget back at the box office.
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!!Tropes:
* ActorAllusion: In this movie, UmaThurman plays a biologist who works in a garden/lab where she can call wind, rain and lightning. In previous films she has played [[Film/BatmanAndRobin Poison Ivy]] and [[Film/TheAdventuresOfBaronMunchausen the goddess Aphrodite]].
%%* AerosolFlamethrower
%%* CallToAgriculture
* ChekhovsArmoury: The envelope that Jennings substituted for his paycheck contains helpful items.
** A single bullet but no gun. It's fired anyway, of course.
** The remote-controlled grabbing device in Rachel's lab, along with her thunder, lightning, and wind effects.
* ChekhovsSkill: In the beginning of the film there is a short scene of Jennings training at the gym, hitting targets with a staff. Guess how he beats up mooks near the ending?
* {{Chronoscope}}: The Time Scope, of course.
* CondensationClue: [[spoiler:Jennings wrote a note to his girlfriend on her bathroom mirror so she would know he hadn't abandoned her.]]
* CoolBike: The BMW R 1150R Rockster utilized in a chase scene. Which, of course, Jennings had bought ahead of time.
* DeathByAdaptation: [[spoiler: Rethrick]]. In the short story [[spoiler: Jennings simply blackmails Rethrick into letting him become a partner in running the company]], while in the movie [[spoiler: Jennings leaves himself a watch timed to tell him to move just in time to get out of the way of a bullet and allowing it to hit Rethrick]].
%%* DisturbedDoves:
* EveryCarIsAPinto: Car vs. pipe. Point goes to the pipe.
* FiveSecondForeshadowing: The bad guy stands in front of the machine that shows the future, but only sees his own back, as he is futilely trying to get away from the exploding machine. He realizes that this means the machine will explode, and futilely tries to get away from it.
* FramedClue: The extra stamp on the envelope.
* GambitRoulette: Jennings uses a MemoryGambit, prophecies and a time portal in his plan to out smart his opponents.
* GoodLuckGesture: You can see that Jennings has his fingers crossed when he raises his head after [[spoiler: ''almost'' being run over by a subway train]].
%%* GuiltyPleasures
%%* GunpointBanter: Happens twice.
* HeroesPreferMotorcycles: Jennings assumes his key fob is for a BMW car, turns out he bought a CoolBike instead.
%%* HighConcept
* HotScientist: Jennings meets a beautiful woman at a fancy dinner who turns out to be a biologist.
* IntangibleTimeTravel: The time scope.
* ItMayHelpYouOnYourQuest: Justified here; the character knew exactly what was going to happen in the future and when (see NoteToSelf, below).
%%* LargeHam: Renthrick.
* LaserGuidedAmnesia: Literally. It happens to Jennings after every job to prevent data leaks.
* MagicalSecurityCam: The memory reader, which somehow works in third-person.
* MemoryGambit: Knowing his memory would be wiped, Jennings left clues to lead himself to the info or escape route he needed.
%%* MexicanStandoff:
* MoodWhiplash: An assassin attempts to take a shot at Jennings from behind his newspaper disguise while in a subway station. Then, suddenly, a small kid with a toy revolver approaches the assassin in disguise, and "shoots" him (saying something along the lines of "Bang! Bang! You're dead!"). The assassin ignores him and takes out his long badass silenced pistol ({{BFG}}) to take aim at Jennings. The kid only seems [[UnusuallyUninterestingSight annoyed]].
* NoteToSelf: Made difficult as the only things Jennings could sneak out were innocuous items.
* OntologicalMystery: Jennings' last job and what happened on it kicks off the bulk of the plot, especially since due to the memory-erasure procedure he doesn't know why anyone would kill him over it or why he's been accused of killing someone.
* PlotTailoredToTheParty: As a reverse engineer, Jennings is uniquely suited to analyze the numerous potential bad futures and give himself innocuous-looking doodads to allow himself to survive.
* PragmaticAdaptation: Though the basic idea is more or less the same (Jennings completes a job and has his memory wiped, finds himself in trouble with the law with the only clues being a series of seemingly useless items he left for himself as the result of [[spoiler: seeing his own future]]), the movie is a lot more elaborate than the short story. Some of the key plot elements are seen earlier in the movie, but the ending is completely different in both versions.
* QuestForIdentity: Jennings is trying to find out what happened on his last job.
* RetroactivePreparation: A variant. Jennings doesn't have a time machine, but he ''did'' have access to the time portal.
* ScrewDestiny: What the machine would hopefully do, though Jennings's initial use of it indicates it's closer to a SelfFulfillingProphecy. The eventual conclusion seems to be that you can do it, but it's ''really hard''.
* SelfFulfillingProphecy: The stamps on Jennings' envelope demonstrate this. Images of newspaper articles show that the predictions the machine makes come true but it's because the people they are given to are too quick to jump to conclusions, thereby creating the very catastrophe they were trying to avert. Jennings, an engineer, had both the time and intelligence to logically deconstruct his prophecies and give himself specific tools to avert them.
%%* ShootOutTheLock:
* SomedayThisWillComeInHandy: Inverted. Jennings was working from (temporary) foreknowledge of his own future, and after his memory wipe he has to figure out what is needed where.
%%* SpottingTheThread
* ViewerFriendlyInterface: Every computer in this movie.
%%* WealthyEverAfter
* WithThisHerring: Jennings begins his quest with odds and ends. They come in handy but the trope is still valid.
* YouWillKnowWhatToDo: Pulled off artfully in the movie (he gets twenty of these), but with a bit more flair in the short story.
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