Paranoia – Robert Luketic and The not-so-Firm remake. (film review)

4135I’m going to be adding my voice to the heard here. Like Paranoia itself, there isn’t much that is original that I can add to the already well-worn list of complaints, except that if you are going to make a high-tech thriller about the future of the telecommunications age, you should have at least come up with a gadget that people are willing to fight for and die for. Much has been made of the comparison between Paranoia and The Firm, except at lest The Firm had that creepy stepford wives thing going and that whole corporate swallow happening. Paranoia has weak gadgets that I could have thought up in the shower last night, being fought over by the Kings of Tech. It’s just impossible to believe.

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Without doing anything to stand out from the crowd, Adam Cassidy (Liam Hemsworth) is plucked from obscurity to be the “new-right-hand-man” to Nicholas Wyatt (Gary Oldman) who turns out to be… you guessed it… involved in shady dealings that he wants Adam to spearhead overnight. Why anyone would give such an important task to a person who can’t make a basic presentation work is never explained, nor why they are all going to these lengths for the next mobile phone.  The target of their “naughtiness” is Jock Godard (Harrison Ford) who, completely without explanation, hires Adam to be the #1 go-to-gadget-guy in his #1 firm, thereby giving him the perfect placement to spy and steal.  Adam will do this for a while till he realizes that he is a pawn in the larger game and that his realization has come too late for him to get himself out of it.

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What The Firm did have, was the ego boost Mitch McDeer receives when he gains partnership at a young age.  Mitch doesn’t want to believe The Firm is villainous, because it thereby negates his flattery. Paranoia never establishes this. Adam is called to behave illegally, because he overspent on the company credit card. This destroys the plots credibility because it is never believable that Nicholas Wyatt would give such an important task to such a bungler and it is never believable that Adam Cassidy would be able to pull off any of the things he eventually does.

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But that is really just the start of the problems with this film. There are plot holes, yes and the film is a string of clichés, but unfortunately Liam Hemsworth is almost completely unwatchable. There is no “star” quality to him at all, and it ends up simply being a relief when he is off camera.  There is an exciting moment when we get to see Sirius Black take on Han Solo but even all that monumental star power can’t detract from the problem that Hemsworth is like a charisma vampire – he sucks it out of every scene. The film looks pretty, and the fancy digs are interesting, but the subplot of being “watched” is never fully realized and therefore feels completely tacked on.

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There isn’t much else to say about this one. I wish it was better. I hate having to see films that were a waste of everyone’s time, but unfortunately, there it is.

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