Paranoia

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Adam Cassidy (Liam Hemsworth) is a low-level inventor who works for a corporation run by Nicholas Wyatt (Gary Oldman). After being fired for insubordination, Adam uses the company’s credit card to pay for bottle service for his friends at a club. Wyatt and his enforcer, Miles Meachum (Julian McMahon), blackmail Adam into becoming a corporate spy for Wyatt by threatening to have him arrested for fraud.

Adam is trained by Judith Bolton (Embeth Davidtz) and infiltrates a company run by Wyatt’s former mentor, Jock Goddard (Harrison Ford). He provides Goddard, who stole several of Wyatt’s ideas, with an advanced software able to hack into cellphones, with potential military applications. FBI Agent Gamble (Josh Holloway) interrogates Adam, revealing that three other employees of Wyatt who transferred to Goddard’s company were found dead, but Adam ignores him.

Adam finds out Emma Jennings (Amber Heard), a woman he met during the party, is the Director of Marketing of Goddard’s company. He initiates a relationship with Emma in order to steal files about Goddard’s upcoming projects. Wyatt threatens to kill Adam’s father, Frank Cassidy (Richard Dreyfuss), if Adam doesn’t steal a revolutionary prototype cellphone developed by Goddard. Adam later finds out Meachum and Bolton are monitoring him, so he destroys the cameras in his apartment. In retaliation, Meachum runs over Adam’s friend, Kevin (Lucas Till), with a car, nearly killing him. Adam is given 48 hours to steal the prototype.

Adam uses Emma’s fingerprints from a spoon to gain security access to the company’s vault. He is confronted there by Goddard, who intends to take over Wyatt’s company with evidence that Adam was acting as Wyatt’s spy. Emma finds out Adam used her. Adam recruits Kevin to help him. A meeting is set with Wyatt and Goddard, where it is revealed that Bolton has spied against Wyatt on Goddard’s behalf. Both men speak of the crimes they have committed to sabotage each other’s companies.

Adam has secretly used software to transmit their conversation to Kevin, whose computer recordings are turned over to the FBI. Goddard, Wyatt, Bolton and Meachum are arrested by Gamble, while Adam is released for contributing to the FBI’s investigation. He reconciles with Emma and opens a small startup store in Brooklyn with Kevin and their friends.

REVIEW:

I am no fan of cell phones. The only reason I have one is for emergencies and because work all but makes it mandatory. I swear one of these days, those things are going to take over the world a la Skynet! Is that what Paranoia is about? No, but the plot does involve a cell phone tracking/eavesdropping software that is sure to make us all paranoid.

What is this about?

Blackmailed by his company’s CEO, low-level employee Adam Cassidy finds himself forced to spy on the boss’s rival and former mentor. As Adam enjoys all the trappings of an executive position, he soon learns he can trust no one.

What did I like?

It goes both ways. The day is going to come in which technology overtakes us humans in every way. The fact that this film plants the idea, if it hasn’t already been made, that an undeleted e-mail on your cell phone can be a tracking device. The notion is something of a novelty, but most of the technology we have today came from sci-fi nerds reading or watching movies, books, and TV shows of their day, so you never know.

Enforcer. Julian McMahon seems to have made a career out of being the bad guy (or semi-bad guy). His character here is some sort of enforcer for Gary Oldman’s company. At first glance, you’d think he was some yuppie-type who was just waiting for the old man to keel over, but it turns out, he’s a loyal bodyguard type…and a brutally sadistic one. If this was a different film, we might have really seen him go medieval with some of his scare tactics.

Nerd love. Yeah, so out good looking leading man, Liam Hemsworth, gets the girl, Amber Heard, in the end. However, impressive to me was that the nerdy sidekick guy, Lucas Till, got the girl he was hitting on early on in the film. Aside from being the obvious brains behind the operation, as it were, manages to get the girl. The fact that this film takes the time to make a point of showing him with his new found love gets kudos from me.

What didn’t I like?

Accent. I’m no accent specialist, but the cockney (or whatever the correct name is) accent that Gary Oldman was using for his character wasn’t working for me. Perhaps it is because I’m so used to him using a more proper accent in the roles when he can talk like the proper Brit that he is. Who ever it was that told him to use this dialect gave him some bad advice.

Leading man he ain’t. Liam Hemsworth just can’t really catch a break. His older brother, Chris, was made a bonafide star with Thor, while he had a relatively small part in The Hunger Games (which grows in the sequels). Really, aside from that franchise and the short amount of time he was in The Expendables 2, Hemsworth’s career highlight has been his relationship with Miley Cyrus. The guy has the look and he is getting better as an actor, but unfortunately, he just isn’t leading man material, in my view, for this film. There is too much pretty boy and not enough discernible talent.

Excitement? This was billed as an exciting thriller, but I didn’t get that feeling of excitement. As a matter of fact, I was nearly dozing off for most of the film. The only thing that kept me awake was playing Candy Crush, which is an indictment of how boring this film managed to become. I wish it would have captured the excitement the trailer promised, but that wasn’t the case.

I wanted to give Paranoia the benefit of the doubt. It seemed as if the critics were a bit harsh towards it, but that was before I watched it. Many of the problems they had with it didn’t bother me, but I’m also not twisted and jaded by years of doing nothing but watching movies, either. I think this film’s biggest problem is that it is overly ambitious, wanting to tell a sophisticated story geared toward the adult audience, while using a leading man to bring in the younger demographic and capture the last remnants of the summer audience. A valiant attempt was made here, but in the end, there was failure. Do I recommend this film? Simply put, no. This really isn’t worth your time, save for listening to the truths Hemsworth’s character spouts out about our society, but you can see that kind of stuff on any of your political minded Facebook friends’ page.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: