"Privacy. Absolute myth. There's no such thing."
The film starts off on the wrong foot and never manages to get on track. In the very opening scene you have Liam Hemsworth using voice over narration explaining to us what we are about to see, and you realize that you are going to watch a cliched unoriginal action thriller. Then there is a scene where Gary Oldman's character is looking at some art pieces with Liam and he mentions how Picasso once said that there are no original ideas, that everything is either copied or stolen. You kind of get a sense of a similar thing going on with this script. Paranoia is an action thriller that seems recycled with no fresh ideas and unfortunately lacks thrills. The script was adapted by Jason Dean Hall (Spread) and Barry Levy (Vantage Point) from Joseph Finder's novel, but nothing about it feels inspiring or original. It is a shame because I was excited to get to see Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman face off once again, but Paranoia easily belongs on my worst films of 2013 list mainly because these talented actors can't do anything to improve a weak script. Paranoia gets half a star for Amber Heard who looks stunning despite not adding anything to the story, and another star for Oldman and Ford's presence alone. I could forgive the uninspiring script if at least this technological thriller actually had some thrills, but it doesn't. There aren't any interesting thrills either and the narrative is pretty straight forward and predictable.
Adam Cassidy (Liam Hemsworth) has been working for an important technological company known as Wyatt Corporation for the past six years. He hasn't been able to ascend the corporate ladder the way he pictured it as he continues to be an entry level employee, but he and his team are expecting a break through when given the opportunity to present their next project to the boss, Nicolas Wyatt (Gary Oldman). The presentation doesn't go as planned and Adam is left unemployed along with the rest of his team. Feeling bad about the way things turned out, Adam invites them to a fancy club where they use the company's credit card. The next day Adam is called back to Wyatt's office as he is confronted for his crime. Taking advantage of Adam's hunger for wealth and power, Wyatt recruits him to spy on his nemesis: Jock Goddard (Harrison Ford). Goddard happens to run another billion dollar tech company which is his biggest competition. Wyatt wants Adam to win Jock's trust and discover what they are working on, and in return he promises him the life he has always dreamed of. Blinded by greed Adam accepts and soon will find himself way in over his head.
Richard Dreyfuss has a small role in this film as well and his presence only reminds us that a film focusing on him or the other secondary characters such as Oldman and Ford, would be so much better. Instead they allow Hemsworth to play the lead role and he simply doesn't have that on screen charisma to carry a film on his own. I don't think he's a bad actor, but he needs stronger material to keep the audience's interest. He is just outclassed in this film by the other talented actors and we are left out wanting to see more of them. Another issue I had with Paranoia is that the plot doesn't make much sense and it is so dull that it allows you to begin to think too much about it and find all sort of holes. Robert Luketic has just directed his third straight flop after the disappointing Killers and The Ugly Truth. I will defend him for 21, which was a film that at least kept me entertained, but his latest efforts have been really disappointing. Paranoia might just top them all; stay away from this film.