It’s a game of high stakes and deception in the suspense thriller Paranoia. Actor Liam Hemsworth (Expendables 2) plays Adam Cassidy a young entrepreneur who’s bad decision to screw his boss over after he gets fired sets up this high tech corporate espionage. When Cassidy’s boss Nicholas Wyatt played by veteran actor Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight, Air Force One) finds out what he does, he ends up black mailing Cassidy. Either jump the corporate ladder as Wyatt strategically places him in his rival tech company competitor to sabotage and help Wyatt potentially earn billions or go to jail.
Cassidy is caught in a grudge match. Oldman’s character is trying to outdo his tech titan counterpart and former mentor Jock Goddard played by another film veteran Harrison Ford (Enders Game, Star Wars) as both CEO’s try to surpass each other as cellular company giants. The movie itself is based off of Joseph Finder’s bestselling novel by the same name but unlike the book the movie doesn’t have the character dynamics that one would hope for.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the complexity of this film, but the character relationship between Hemsworth and Oldman or Hemsworth and Ford isn’t believable due to the film’s time constraints and storyline. Adam Cassidy shoots up way to quickly into Goddard’s ranks only after Cassidy seals his first corporate deal. For Goddard being the all powerful CEO, you can’t just trust someone who you barley know, or even worse, invite him into his home to talk about your dead son.
But that was the play that Wyatt and Cassidy conspired. Yeah, I guess being a billionaire has its benefits, like molding an executive over night by forging documents, supplying an multimillion dollar New York City upper west side apartment and having a psychology teach you the tricks and the trade to con your way to the top.
Enter Amber Heard’s character Emma Jennings, marketing executive for Jock Goddard. Who at the beginning of the film had a fling with Cassidy who prior to becoming Goddard’s newest executive was just an aspiring business man. Yes, their one night stand resulted with no inquiries of their professional backgrounds but with Cassidy suddenly rising to the top and earning Goddard’s trust. Or even more confusing was to why Heard’s character would have an ID to the safe of the item Cassidy was trying to obtain when Jennings is a marketing specialist.
It’s a multi-billion dollar company which emphasized in the film that the security in the building was so tech savvy with body scanners, body temperature readings, ID card/thumb print scanners and the sheer force of man power patrolling the building. You would think that the writers of the film would think to themselves, “Hey, let’s give a character who has no business having security clearance to the safe room which supposedly has the future next big phone that will revolutionize the cellular industry!”
But even with all of that craziness going on you would think Wyatt has leverage to convince Cassidy to do his bidding, he is a powerful billionaire who can have Cassidy prosecuted and spend a few years in jail. But after Cassidy feels like he’s in too deep and over his head as he tries to escape Wyatt’s grip. Wyatt’s bodyguard and hit man played by Julian McMahon (Fantastic Four, Nip/Tuck) has Cassidy on a leash watching his every move and even threatens Cassidy with death manages to convince the fleeing Cassidy to continue his work only after Wyatt threatens the life of Cassidy’s father played by Richard Dreyfuss.
The supporting cast manages to tie the loose ends of the film together as well as motivate Cassidy to continue Wyatt’s dirty work after a scare tactic with an attempt to kill Cassidy’s best friend and business partner Kevin played by Lucas Till (X-Men: First Class, Battle: Los Angeles). Even Josh Holloway (Lost, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) has a small role as F.B.I. Agent Gamble who is cracking down on Wyatt’s corruptive and murderous schemes.
The movie is itself is all about leverage and backstabbing as almost everyone uses Cassidy to their advantage and the deception is thrilling. Gary Oldman’s does a terrific job as he is downright scary as he uses his British accent in such an intimidating way that causes so much tension is terrific on screen. And Harrision Ford throws a curve ball with his character which broadens the overall film’s experience. Even the score to the film done by composer Junkie XL complements each characters personalities and plot with nail biting instrumentals.
Despite some loose thought process on the story, the movie itself in my opinion is the underdog of the ending summer movie release. The ending is extremely surprising with all the twists and turns! Fans of suspense thrillers will like it, as long as you don’t think too much about the realism of the story.
Directed By: Robert Luketic
Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Gary Oldman, Harrison Ford, Amber Heard, Lucas Till, Josh Holloway and Richard Dreyfuss.
Rated R for: mild violence
Run time: 106 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 3.5/ Acting: 4/ Directing: 3.5/ Visuals: 2.5
OVERALL: 3.5 out of 5 Nerdskulls
Check out the trailer below: