Paranoia is the latest exercise in mediocrity despite having a few very talented actors attached. The story is clichéd filled and the performances, again despite the talent, are at best phoned in. It’s not a terrible film and as passable entertainment might be worth a whirl (rental), but otherwise pass it by.
Fox | PG13 – 96 min. – $39.99 | November 19, 2013
Directed by: Robert Luketic
Writer(s): Joseph Finder (novel); Jason Hall and Barry L. Levy (screenplay)
Cast: Liam Hemsworth, Gary Oldman, Amber Heard, Harrison Ford, Lucas Till, Embeth Davidtz, Julian McMahon, Josh Holloway, Richard Dreyfus
Theatrical Release Date: August 16, 2013
Features: Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, DVD Copy, Digital Copy
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 36.6 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 2.5/5
Paranoia is a half-baked corporate thriller and on the surface, could’ve been a whole lot better especially in this day and age of spying. But as it is, this is more or less Anti-Trust meets The Firm, both of which are far better movies than this one which is a damn shame considering the talent involved.
Adam Cassidy (CHRIS HEMSWORTH’S BROTHER) is a brash go-getter who supports his ailing yet mischievous father (RICHARD DREYFUS) and is part of an intern team working for Wyatt Corporation headed by founder Nicolas Wyatt (GARY OLDMAN). The team presents a new idea for the company but after Adam confronts Nicolas, he and the team are unceremoniously fired. To celebrate their canning, the team utilizes the remainder of their project slush fund to party at an exclusive club wherein Adam is instantly attracted toward a woman and has a one-night stand; he doesn’t know her name and she seemingly has no interest in him relationship-wise. Surely this woman won’t enter the picture later, right?
Making matters worse for Adam, he discovers the last couple of procedures done for his dad was no longer covered by their insurance and now owes the hospital a whopping $17,000. Yikes.
Nearly down and out, Adam is tracked down by Nicolas, via henchman Miles (JULIAN MCMAHON), and takes a meeting in which Nicolas offers a job: infiltrate Nicolas’s former mentor turned competitor Jock Goddard’s (HARRISON FORD) company, Eikon, steal their latest innovation and give it to Nicolas to exploit. At first Adam refuses but is blackmailed that he and his team – which includes best friend Kevin (LUCAS TILL) – will be prosecuted for fraud for using the credit card at the club.
With little choice, Adam’s first obstacle of getting the job, somehow as a on-the-rise executive which should raise antennas to Goddard, is to interview with two Eikon execs including, what do you know, the one-night stand who is named Emma (AMBER HEARD). Oh, what a coincidence, I guess it is indeed a small world!
So, Adam does get the job of course and ingratiates himself to Goddard whom he finds to be a good and charismatic man. However, a few problems arise: He falls in love with Emma yet needs to use her to get the necessary information otherwise Wyatt will cause major problems for Adam including threatening his father; oh, an FBI agent (JOSH HOLLOWAY) pays him a visit knowing what’s going on. Oh, what web of deception we weave…
Paranoia is a clichéd mess with a cast that I still find perplexing what they saw in the script to accept a part. Now, Liam Hemsworth, I understand, beggars can’t be choosers but Amber Heard, after appearing in the independent film Syrup, doesn’t seem that invested, although in fairness, her character is thin; but what about Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman? Sure, Oldman isn’t beyond appearing in average or bad films but I can at least find a reason (see: The Unborn, directed by Dark Knight Trilogy co-writer David S. Goyer), but it appears Harrison Ford crossed into Robert De Niro territory in not giving a crap anymore.
One of the odder stories of this movie is the choice of Robert Luketic to helm. His feature debut was Legally Blonde, a fine little comedy successful almost solely due to Reese Witherspoon yet his follow-ups, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton, Monster-in-Law, 21, The Ugly Truth and Killers are all prime examples of mediocrity and you can add Paranoia to that ever growing list. It is kind of stunning how Luketic got the gig despite mainly directing comedies.
Now, to be fair, I can’t saw Paranoia is a particularly bad film and the premise actually is rather interesting even if you can see the ending coming a few miles away. The movie was based on the novel written by Joseph Finder who has had one other movie taken to the silver screen, High Crimes which wasn’t a half-bad thriller. This one, updated for today’s technology, really could’ve used a few more passes on the script… to go along with a different director.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.0/5
This release comes with a semi-glossy slip cover inside of which contains a DVD/Digital Copy combo disc (DC compatible with iTunes).
Deleted Scenes (4:48; HD) – Four unnecessary scenes that were rightfully removed.
Privacy is Dead (6:00; HD) is a featurette on how nothing is private anymore and features comments by the cast.
The Paranoia Begins (5:50; HD) – This is a basic behind-the-scenes featurette providing background on the origins of the project and has some of the same interview footage.
The Players (5:23; HD) outlines the cast assembled for the film.
Also included is the Theatrical Trailer (2:24; HD) which outlines the entire plot.
Previews – Out of the Furnace, The Family, Don Jon, The Wolverine
VIDEO – 4.5/5
Twentieth Century Fox releases Paranoia onto Blu-ray presented in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. As with most new movies, this one also looks excellent in HD with good detail levels and the darker elements, for which there are plenty night-time and scenes in darkly-lit rooms, is nice and stark throughout. There’s some grain but it’s light and doesn’t at all detract and gives it a film-like quality.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
The disc has a lossless 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track and although there’s not a whole lot action to judge it off of, the film does feature a ton of pop music blaring through each speaker while dialogue and on-screen elements relegated to the center channel. The LFE channel also kicks in a few times providing for some good depth to the track.
OVERALL – 2.75/5
Overall, Paranoia is the latest exercise in mediocrity despite having a few very talented actors attached. The story is clichéd filled and the performances, again despite the talent, are at best phoned in. It’s not a terrible film and as passable entertainment might be worth a whirl (rental), but otherwise pass it by. The Blu-ray distributed by Fox has excellent audio/video transfers while the features were thin.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.