When Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford have an acting volley on the screen, it is a joy to behold. The duo are paired again in Paranoia and the few scenes they share are by far the best in the film. Oldman and Ford previously dueled in Air Force One to electric results. Unfortunately in Paranoia, the two play rival tech titans who only share mere moments.
This is a Liam Hemsworth movie, and although the young Australian actor is up for the challenge, the script doesn’t quite deliver the thrills needed to make this a full-blown exciting thriller.
Previewed in the Paranoia trailer, Hemsworth is a young, up-and-coming telecom company employee. As we meet him, he and his team are about to give a pitch to the president of their organization (Oldman). It doesn’t go so well and Hemsworth responds by celebrating their collective firing by taking everybody out on the company credit card. So, by some stretch of the imagination, Oldman calls him back in. He threatens him with jail for stealing, and gives him the option to get a job with his rival’s company (Ford’s) and spy on them for him.
The yuppie in the making is molded and coached to the point where he aces the interview and bam! He’s working for Ford.
There’s a whole side story with Amber Heard, who we know Hemsworth hooked up with on the night of debauchery that sent this story moving forward. She, it just so happens, works with Ford. We are shocked -- didn’t see that coming. Heard is a solid, up-and-coming actress. Unfortunately, she has not found a film project that effectively utilizes her talents.
Paranoia is ripe with messages about morals and lines that should or should not be crossed. There are also thoughts weaved in throughout on what’s right and what’s wrong in the world of business, and if somebody is double crossed, does that warrant a reply in kind?
But, overall, this film is supposed to be a chilling tale about the costs of losing our privacy in the world of smart phones with GPS that can find us anywhere. Unfortunately, it never quite gets there and gets lost (ironically) in a muddled perceived high stakes corporate espionage thriller. It fails to ever truly give us the sense of the gravity of being on the winning or losing side of this affair.
Our Paranoia review can unequivocally state that the reason to see this film is the onscreen battle between Oldman and Ford. The two bring their A-games and it is clear that each actor firmly respects the other. Witnessing them volley again is pure joy. The film is based on the riveting book by Joseph Finder. Somewhere along the way, some of the thrills got forgotten. Paranoia has its moments, but by the time the credits roll, it will disappear as quickly as a purged inbox on your smart phone.