HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:79
I’m not really sure what to think whenever I see Thor’s little brother on the acting screen. Very similar to how I originally viewed Casey Affleck (although Casey has grown up as an actor/director quite a bit). A handsome young man, Liam resembles a softer spoken version of his brother. With the star studded cast and the marketing for this film I was actually surprised just how mediocre it turned out to be. I mean, when you have Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman (doing an accent I can’t even fathom to figure out) Richard Dreyfuss, Julian McMahon etc. you wonder, “How can this go wrong”.
Adam Cassidy (Liam Hemsworth) is a young project manager at a large Cell phone company, scraping by at an entry level job and hoping for the future. He’s saddled with a dad (Richard Dreyfuss) who’s suffering from emphysema and medical bills piling up. After a botched presentation to Nicolas Wyatt (Gary Oldman), his boss, he and his team are out on the street and looking for work again. One bright side is they still have the spending account credit card that Adam was using for their cell phone project. Living it up on town they rack up an incredible $16,000 bill and that’s just something that even a rich person can’t overlook. Called into Wyatt’s office by one Miles Meechum (Julian McMahon) Adam prepares for the worst. Unfortunately his mind can’t fathom just what the “worst” really will be. Instead of throwing the book at him, Wyatt blackmails Adam into becoming a corporate spy and trying to steal the new prototype of his Mentor and biggest competitor, Jock Goddard (Harrison Ford).
Sprucing him up with a clinical psychologist to groom him to be the perfect candidate they make Adam so appealing to Goddard that he’s gobbled up in an instant. Now that he’s in all that Adam has to do is find the prototype of the new phone from Goddard’s company. The only problem is that Adam isn’t sure what side of the fence he is on anymore. Not only is he starting to sympathize with Goddard, but he’s falling in love with Goddard’s head of marketing, a girl he had his eye on before he even knew of Goddard. Things come to a head when the FBI starts calling on his doorstep sniffing around at the thought of corporate espionage. Adam’s stuck between a rock and a hard place and well…another rock. If he goes with Goddard then he’s basically going to get killed by Wyatt, if he goes with Wyatt, there’s no way he’s getting out of this unscathed, and if he turns states evidence he’s going to jail.
The film starts out well, with some nice sneaky setups and the enticement of a twisting and turning thriller chock full of corporate skullduggery. After watching through the film and noticing the ups and downs, and the overall clichéd overtones of the film I have to attribute the films mediocrity to two inherent things. One…. You NEED a good script writer. While the actors did a solid job and even Harrison Ford giving a very solid performance, the script just didn’t give them enough to work with. Hamfisted and lacking any real sense of finesse the script acted as a bull in a china shop, smashing through plot contrivances and key plot points with about as much finesse and panache as said bull. Secondly, the romantic chemistry between Amber Heard and Liam Hemsworth is probably the most flat romance that I have seen in a while. Not once did I ever feel an emotional connection resonate between the two. Like the screenwriting it felt flat, dull and very very forced.
Now all of that complaining aside, the film is not a BAD movie per se, it’s just terribly clichéd and predictable. It’s one of those films that would make for a rental on a Friday night, nothing so terribly gut wrenching as others so recently put out, but nothing that will awe and amaze you either. Liam Hemsworth is not a bad actor, he’s got a bit less charisma than his older brother, but with some work I believe he’ll do a fine job. The real villain here seems to be the script and it was obvious from the start that the actors really didn’t have any leeway to stretch and were forced into a script that even they were wincing at. The non main plot scenes were actually the highlights of the movie. Scenes between Richard Dreyfuss and Liam Hemsworth were the most emotional and character driven, the same with Adam and his friends that got fired. There was some chemistry there and actually gave you hints at what the movie COULD have been if they’d been given something better to work with.
Rated PG-13 for some sexuality, violence and language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=13769[/img]While the movie itself wasn’t pure gold the video presentation was stellar and deserves the praise the film itself couldn’t achieve. The colors have obviously been graded with the ever popular teal and orange tints. Most of the outdoor scenes have that rich orange hue to it while the indoor and dark scenes are blanketed in that teal overtone giving it a sort of somber feeling. The rest of the spectrum is well represented here as well with reds and blues and greens seeping into every corner, especially during an outdoor dinner party scene at Goddard’s house where the lawn and ornaments just exude colors. Detail is absolutely phenomenal, with both long and close up shots showing exceptional clarity, showing up the scar on Liam Hemsworth face all the way down to the aging face of Harrison Ford (liver spots and all). The film tends to shroud itself in darkness, giving us a feeling of secrecy and skullduggery but also gives us plenty of black to see just how well the encode can do. Even in the darkest scenes the black levels were at tip top shape and there was only once or twice that I felt that some black crush was seen. Overall an excellent transfer.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=13770[/img]Right on par with the video, the film is presented with an English DTS-HD MA 5.1 track (surprisingly the ONLY track on the disc) which is MORE than capable of fulfilling its duties. Full, rich and encompassing, it’s all that one could hope for in a thriller. The LFE channel was voracious to say the least, there wasn’t a 15 minute period gone by that didn’t surprise me with some thunderous LFE smacking me upside the head or having me jolt in my seat with a jump scare. The club scene at the beginning pretty much told me that the bass in this movie was going to be the highlight, and it most certainly was. The dialogue was crisp and solidly locked into the center channel with some nice panning effects among the mains. The surrounds were used rather well, with some solid immersion into the films aura, giving us some very nice ambient effects. The sounds of Adam tearing apart his room, the crash of garbage can lids as he runs through an alley way and the roar of a high power sports car ripping through the New York streets.
• "Paranoia" In High Definition
• Deleted Scenes
• Privacy is Dead
• The Paranoia Begins
• The Players
“Paranoia” is nowhere near as good as the marketing led us to believe, and it really isn’t that great of a movie, thanks to the script, but it still is a decently entertaining movie that just tends to play it a little too safe with the same old cliché’s being used. There have been so many corporate thrillers that have done it right and soooooooooooooooo many in the last decade that it seems they tried to just borrow a little bit from each one and rob the viewer of that sense of “what’s going to happen next?” that is so essential in a thriller of this nature. Personally I’d say this film is worth a redbox rental or the like, but nothing that’s going to make it into your collection.
Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Amber Heard, Gary Oldman, Harrison Ford
Directed by: Robert Luketic
Written by: Jason Dean Hall, Barry L. Levy
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Blu-Ray Release Date: Nov 19th, 2013
Buy Paranoia Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Rent It
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