Johnny Mnemonic (film)

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Johnny Mnemonic is a 1995 cyberpunk film, loosely based on the short story "Johnny Mnemonic" by William Gibson. The title character, a man with a cybernetic brain implant designed to store information, is played by Keanu Reeves. The film portrays Gibson's dystopian view of the future with the world dominated by megacorporations and with strong East Asian influences. The film has garnered a cult following over the years for its dystopian and cyberpunk themes.

The film was directed by Robert Longo on location in Canada, with Toronto and Montreal filling in for the film's Newark, New Jersey and Beijing settings. A number of local monuments, including Toronto's Union Station and Montreal's skyline and Jacques Cartier Bridge, feature prominently.

The film is notable for the presence of Takeshi Kitano, whose role in the Japanese version of the film was greatly expanded.[2][3]



In the year 2021, Johnny is a data trafficker who has an implant that allows him to securely store data too sensitive for regular computer networks. His brain can carry nearly 80 gigabytes worth of data, or 160 gigabytes if he uses a doubler. Johnny uses this implant to act as a courier between contracting parties. On one delivery run, he accepts a package that not only exceeds the implant's safety limits (and will thus kill him if the data isn't removed in time), but also proves to contain information far more important and valuable than he had ever imagined. He has to remove the data and avoid being killed by assassins sent after him by the company who owns the data.


Longo and Gibson originally envisaged making an art film on a small budget, but failed to get financing. Longo commented that the project "started out as an arty 1½-million-dollar movie, and it became a 30-million-dollar movie because we couldn't get a million and a half."[4]

Differences from the source material

The story in the movie significantly deviates from the short story, most notably turning Johnny, not girlfriend Molly, into the primary action figure. In fact, the movie transforms this girlfriend from Molly into "Jane", as the film rights to Molly were owned by a company unaffiliated with the film's producers.[5]

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