Paranoia, a film adapted from the best-selling book by Joseph Finder, stars Liam Hemsworth as Adam Cassidy, Gary Oldman as Nicolas Wyatt, Harrison Ford as Jock Goddard, and Amber Heard as Emma Jennings. The film is directed by Robert Luketic (21, Legally Blonde) with the screenplay written by Jason Hall and Barry L. Levy.
Adam Cassidy (Hemsworth) is ready to move up in the world. He’s a low-level employee at global tech firm Wyatt Corp, but thinks he and his team can impress their boss, Nicolas Wyatt (Oldman) with the software they’ve created. They have their chance when the group presents their creation to Wyatt, who seems absolutely nonplussed at what his employees have done. Ticked off that his team’s presentation is all but ignored, Adam gets lippy with Wyatt, earning him and his friends a one-way ticket to the unemployment line.
To make his friends, and himself feel better, Adam takes them all to a fancy club, where they drink and dance using the discretionary account their former employer gave them. Adam catches the eye of a pretty young thing on the dance floor, and the two of them end up at her place. In the morning, the same pretty young thing is pushing Adam out the door as fast as she can, ready to forget about her night with a “bridge and tunnel guy.” As she jumps into a cab and Adam gets ready to take his bruised ego back to the house he shares with his father Frank (Richard Dreyfuss), a black SUV stops alongside him, and the goons inside leave him no choice but to get in.
Back at Wyatt Corp, Adam is sweating bullets as Wyatt and his guy Meechum (Julian McMahon) and right-hand woman Judith (Embeth Davidtz) have revealed their knowledge about his bit of fun the night before. Threatening him with jail, Wyatt and his team back Adam into a corner, demanding he help them spy against Wyatt’s biggest rival Jock Goddard (Ford). Goddard runs another tech firm called Eikon, which is about to come out with something so revolutionary it could sink Wyatt Corp for good. With no other alternative, Adam agrees, thus beginning his training in technological espionage. And what training it is! Adam receives a new wardrobe, a fabulous apartment, enough money to pay his father’s medical bills, and the chance to work for a technology giant like Goddard. But behind all of the glitz and glamour is the reality that Wyatt pretty much owns Adam and controls his every move.
Fully prepared for his task, Adam is easily hired at Eikon and gets into Goddard’s good graces almost immediately. He also learns that his one-night stand works for the company and has a name, Emma Jennings (Heard). As Adam begins to make a name for himself at Eikon, he also gets closer to Emma. Things seem to be going well, until Agent Gamble (Josh Holloway) from the FBI pays him a visit. Things begin to get complicated and Adam’s life becomes one big mess. Unfortunately, the same can be said for this film.
Paranoia had the chance to be a really great thriller, but the story moves at a snail’s pace, possibly trying to build tension. But there is no tension whatsoever, not even when film gods Ford and Oldman are in scenes together. The film feels stilted and dry, and I lost interest after the first half. Hemsworth and Heard had absolutely no chemistry, which is a shame because they are both unbelievably attractive and should have set the screen on fire. The film, which should have been a chance for Hemsworth to reveal his dramatic chops, failed miserably. Hemsworth definitely has the look and an intensity about him that will eventually reveal itself with the right material, and I have no doubt he’ll recover and move on to better things. Paranoia just wasn’t the film to help him achieve that goal.
Paranoia is in theaters now.
Photos courtesy of Relativity MediaPowered by Sidelines