When your mind begins to wander outside of your desk’s personal space and you start to think of the possible pranks you could play, it might be time to relax by watching other businesses get theirs via the safe expression of cinema. Slouch in your ergonomically mandated chair as you alt-tab into these 6 corporate espionage movies and let the placebo effect take its course.

“Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”.

Hopefully using children as agents of corporate espionage means never having to root around in the dumpster for their inanimate bodies but even if that happens it’s not like the corporate world can’t find more. With the reclusive genius and his formulas open to the public for one brief tour, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” hedges its bets and tries to turn all the golden ticket winners into little spies in a brightly colored and imaginative morality play. Veruca Salt’s demise manages to show not only why corporate espionage and spoiled children are bad but primarily why bursting into a musical number at any time should be dealt with as swiftly and harshly as possible.

“Resident Evil”.

For future corporate spies out there: steal documents, steal that new all-in-one formula for shampoo/conditioner/paint stripper, just don’t steal any viruses. If “Resident Evil” teaches you one thing it should be that regardless of how evil you think a corporation is, you should really leave exposing their sins to media capture devices and not taking a sample of a world killer with you. The laser room of death protecting the Umbrella Corporation’s AI program should put you off the career path of virus grabber, hopefully forever.


Before you let people wipe out parts of your memory to protect paid work you did, check the calendar because if it isn’t the year 5000 or better you should politely decline. “Paycheck” serves the interest of corporate hijinks by using reverse engineering to discover what the opposition has created and how to mimic it. It’s a fun film but if it ever hits the shores of reality there are going to be a lot of forgotten anniversaries, first kisses and birthdays blamed on memory wiping. The weird but still deadly chase through the container yard shows that there are definite implications for even the corporate saboteurs who seek to right their misdeeds.

“Mission: Impossible II”.

Ethan Hunt and crew get to delve into corporate espionage by going after the makers of a deadly virus to find the cure. Corporate espionage tends to avoid the non-deadly viruses because making someone extra ticklish probably has a smaller revenue stream but just once it’d be nice if the world was only going to be annoyed and not destroyed by an imaginative pharmaceutical company. Nyah (Thandie Newton) makes corporate thievery a good thing as she injects the virus into herself thus saving the world from terrorists, creating action from tension in a great scene.

“The Saint”.

The thief of many names gets hired to do a little corporate espionage as he gets sent after a formula for fusion that would wreck the current fortune of his employer. With non-fatal techniques as well as a large disguise repertoire that reinforces the fact that a good mustache can sometimes be the perfect costume, “The Saint” robs businesses blind all while heightening his reputation and mystique.  Watching Val Kilmer’s approach to learning about the scientist by making himself at home amongst her things, thus gaining a powerful perspective on her thoughts is a well-executed scene that stands out on the dichotomy between the intimacy and violation of espionage.


There’s lukewarm romance, mild comedy and the proof that Clive Owen is human and isn’t an infallible movie chooser but there’s also the entertaining idea of two corporate spies constantly competing against each other in “Duplicity”. It’s not going to change your world or even make you change your computer password but it will kill some time especially if you start recasting “Shoot ‘Em Up" using this cast instead. The thong test is an amusing scene between two well-versed spies that has probably given bad ideas to thousands of untrusting significant others.