Movie Review

Film Review: PARANOIA (2013): Oldman + Ford Liven Up a Bland Film

Harrison Ford Gary Oldman Paranoia

Paranoia (2013) Film Review, a movie directed by Robert Luketic and starring Liam Hemsworth, Gary Oldman, Harrison Ford, Amber Heard, Lucas Till, Elizabeth Davidtz, Julian McMahon, Josh Holloway, Richard Dreyfuss, and Angela Sarafyan.

Known as one piece of the romantic triangle of The Hunger Games trilogy, Liam Hemsworth stars as the character Adam Cassidy in Paranoia. The young Brooklyn 20-something believes in the validity of the saying: “the grass is greener on the other side.” With the spacious city grid of New York City at his feet, that greener grass is the concrete jungle on the opposite side of the Brooklyn Bridge.

His passion for a better life notwithstanding, Cassidy’s ill-construction and one-dimensionality fail to the carry the film.

Cassidy’s opening monologue voice-over is devoid of any originality or tension. Here again is another typical kid – he lost his mom, his dad is dying, and he wants more out of life. The audience should feel bad for him but instead he sinks into the background of his own film. There is no element that makes this character anything out of the ordinary.

The opening scene in Hemsworth’s room shows the young man has programming and technological skills. With that story element set and in place, Cassidy’s creative abilities vanish after that single scene.  Any innovation or nod to the science-fiction genre is entirely lost.

Throughout the rest of the film, Hemsworth is a pawn between two tycoons played by Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman. Nicolas Wyatt (Gary Oldman) is the younger of the old tycoons. After firing Cassidy and his friends he rehires the hungry young lad to work undercover for his rival, Jock Goddard (Harrison Ford).

It is so clear during Paranoia who the true actors are and who is still a neophyte to cinema acting. Oldman and Ford, when together on screen, sizzle. The tension between their two characters is so palpable; I wanted to watch them and only them. I would rather have had a more developed story about their two characters because at least they had a history. Hemsworth’s character is paper-thin with no true complexity. He falls in love with a woman he must manipulate, he realizes he’s over his head, and somehow he needs to save his friends.

Lucas Till is Cassidy’s best friend and fellow computer creator. This character (Kevin) has limited screen time but I still related to and wanted to see more of him e.g. there is a terrific moment where Kevin, desperate for a job, must swallow his pride to ask Cassidy to support and back him during an upcoming job interview. Kevin’s girlfriend Alison (Angela Sarafyan) has a small role in Paranoia but is a welcome distraction during this vapid film.

A clause for any young male actor transitioning into leading man status is shirtlessness and Liam Hemsworth is shirtless for a good portion of the film.

Even with an abundance of eye candy and great acting veterans (Ford and Oldman), audiences will find little to no pleasure within Paranoia. The film has a great foundation that never quite develops into a significant or thrilling story.

Rating: 4/10

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Kimberly Behzadi

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