I am reasonably certain most people have not heard about this little film, even with its star packed cast. What a lot of folks don’t know is that August is often considered a death slot for the summer season. This is where studios send movies to die that they have little faith in. Schools are coming back in session, last minute summer vacations and just the dog days of summer keep people away from the theatres by comparison to the May, June and July releases. Studios will spend less time marketing, with rare exceptions, anything in August and if something sells its a blessing to them more than anything else.
Why do I tell you all this? Because it’s clear to me this is how the studio felt about this movie. A director (Robert Luketic) best known for his mostly unsuccessful comedy work such as Legally Blonde, the Ugly Truth and Killers was given what should be a high tension corporate espionage thriller. Odd match right? The movie shows it as well with a definite lack of finesse and technique through and through.
Nearly every twist and turn is telegraphed a mile away by anyone paying the closest bit of attention. Because of that moments that should have you wondering what will happen next you already have the answer. Ultimately the movies greatest sin is a lack of consequences for actions. Sure the big bad pays, but there are other elements to the film that should not be tied up as neatly like a christmas present.
That isn’t to say this is a bad movie folks. It sounds it, but it’s not bad. Bad is reserved for the equally uninspired World War Z. This film has the benefit of a relatively strong and motivated cast that I didn’t feel was going through the motions. It’s a testament to the actors natural ability that they could do what they did with what they had to work with.
Liam Hemsworth (Thors little brother, yes he is as cute) plays Adam Cassidy a young technician for a multi million dollar cellular company. He is up to his eyes in bills paying for his sick father (Richard Dreyfuss). He is offered the proverbial golden goose by his boss played by the eternally awesome Gary Oldman; who per normal puts all his passion, his accents and his ability to blend into any role he does into the part. All Adam has to do for his boss is fake being a successful executive in a rival company to steal ideas from them. The owner of the other company is played by an oddly shorn Harrison Ford who felt that he needed to go toe to toe with Oldman in the acting department. Thankfully he is more than capable of keeping up, though once or twice I wanted him to yell Get off my plane. The supporting cast is surprisingly talent and believable in their roles. Amber Heard as the love interest, Lucas Till as the geekier best friend, Julian McMahon as the wanna be heavy (the weakest of the supporting) and Losts Josh Holloway as an FBI agent.
There are some twists, but as I said before most if not all of them are telegraphed long in advance. The pacing is off the entire film however keeping you just off balance enough that it is awkward more than tension building.
Paranoia isn’t going to be a summer sleeper, but you may fall asleep watching it. Save this one for the DVD or TV you aren’t missing anything.