Corporate espionage among technology megafirms has the makings for a terrific thriller, but there are too many lunk-headed maneuvers in Robert Luketic’s Paranoia to qualify it as anything but a complete dud. The movie’s failure is even more stinging because talented actors and an expensive production have all gone for naught; there are glimmers of what might have been an exciting caper movie filled with twists, but the resultant film just doesn’t take advantage of any of them.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Run Time: 1 Hr. 46 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copykeep case with slipcover
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 11/19/2013
When an entry level programmer Adam Cassidy (Liam Hemsworth) charges up $16,000 on the company expense account as a revenge tactic after having just been fired, his boss Nicholas Wyatt (Gary Oldman) offers him an alternative: go to jail for robbery or infiltrate Wyatt’s former partner/now rival technology mogul Jock Goddard’s (Harrison Ford) firm and steal secret new technologies they’ve been developing. At first the ruse seems to be working when Adam offers his new firm a revolutionary software application and in appreciation Jock treats Adam to a new, swank apartment in Manhattan, a new car, and other perks which give him opportunities to sneak around and fulfill his agreement with Wyatt. But an FBI agent (Josh Holloway) comes calling sensing something is off with the quick firing and hiring going on in Adam’s life, and Adam begins to regret having made his decision, especially since a girl (Amber Heard) he really likes inevitably is the key to his being able to fulfill his mission.
The Production Rating: 2.5/5
For someone who’s supposed to be a college graduate and a brilliant computer programmer, Adam seems awfully slow-witted and completely naïve about the amount of surveillance that would be on him at work and at home (a lengthy montage sequence has Adam figuring out there are bugging devices in his “free” apartment; obviously he had never seen The Conversation), and his efforts at corporate spying are lead-footed and rather hilarious. All this, of course, points up the really hole-riddled script by Jason Hall and Barry L. Levy (based on the novel by Joseph Finder) that at once tries to make its hero smart and simple-minded all at the same time, and the climactic twists all seem rather too convenient and certainly not the shocking turnarounds the writers and director seemed to think they were fashioning. Director Robert Luketic does move things along smoothly and efficiently: the movie looks like a million bucks and is peopled with two leads who are so picture perfect that a bedroom scene between the two of them had to have been a requirement for the film to have been green lit (their performances elsewhere in the film certainly weren’t the tipping point). But the ending is a complete mystery: where on earth do these young people get the money to finance a new start-up technology firm when all through the movie they’ve been complaining about all the hundreds of thousands of dollars they owe in student loans and hospital bills after having been fired from their low-paying jobs in the film’s opening scene (Adam’s father played by Richard Dreyfuss has no more medical insurance with those huge payments still pending)?
Liam Hemsworth and Amber Heard are both gorgeous individuals, but neither of them evince even the slightest glimmer of computer savvy or technology smarts certainly not like Lucas Till or Angela Sarafyan display with their performances as Adam’s technology genius friends. Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford seem to be enjoying their over-the-top performances as corporate frienemies with Oldman more one-note and Ford a bit more shaded in his portrayal of a corporate whiz who’s kindly on the outside and cutthroat underneath. Embeth Davidtz as Wyatt’s second-in-command portrays cobra-like treachery with each tightly curling smile that crosses her lips. Julian McMahon as Wyatt’s enforcer and Josh Holloway as the FBI officer who offers a deal both give grounded, unflashy performances. Richard Dreyfuss does what he can with the father role using his typical spunky demeanor to give the character some life even with the burden of oxygen tubing getting in his way for much of the film.
The film is presented in 2.40:1 and is offered in 1080p resolution using the AVC codec. There is really nothing wrong at all with this sparkling and most appealing transfer. Sharpness is first rate throughout with loads of detail. Color saturation levels are strong and consistently true with gorgeous skin tones. Black levels are deep, and shadow detail is first rate. The film has been divided into 24 chapters.
Video Rating: 5/5 3D Rating: NA
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix does a fine job with offering a sophisticated sound design with split effects of the city’s ambient sounds that sometimes pan across the soundstage indicating its expansiveness. The busy music score by Junkie XL gets the full surround treatment, but it never intrudes on the dialogue which has been well recorded and been placed in the center channel.
Audio Rating: 4.5/5
Deleted Scenes (4:48, HD): four scenes may be played separately or in one montage.
Special Features Rating: 2.5/5
EPK Featurettes (HD):
- Privacy Is Dead (6:00): director Robert Luketic, producer Alexandra Milchan, writers Barry L. Levy and Jason Hall, and the principal stars of the film discuss the overwhelming use of surveillance both in America and Europe.
- The Paranoia Begins (5:58): the above-mentioned individuals and original author Joseph Finder talk about the inspiration for the idea of the film and discuss its execution.
- The Players (5:23): producer Alexandra Milchan describes the actors as her “dream cast” while the actors praise one another for the power and efficiency of their acting.
Theatrical Trailer (2:24, HD)
Promo Trailers (HD): Out of the Furnace, The Family, Don Jon, The Wolverine.
DVD/Digital Copy: disc and code sheet enclosed
Paranoia is a movie that promises more than it delivers in terms of drama, suspense, and thrills. It has a cast of very talented actors (some not well cast), but the film just never builds to any kind of gripping momentum.
Overall Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewed By: Matt Hough
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