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Movie review: ‘Paranoia’

Posted 4:48pm on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013

PG-13 (sexuality, violence, strong language); 106 min.


Paranoia is the perfect name for a thriller about how our smartphones are outsmarting us. A star vehicle for “the other Hemsworth” ( Hungers Games’ Liam, not brother Thor, um — Chris), it features a couple of chewy scenes pitting Harrison Ford against Gary Oldman.

Sadly, it is as slow, slick and superficial as the director of 21 and Killers can make it.

Hemsworth is Adam Cassidy, a low-level apps innovator bribed and blackmailed into corporate espionage by one cellphone mogul (Oldman) into stealing from his old mentor, another mogul (Ford).

Amber Heard is the dishy marketing guru whom Adam must betray. Richard Dreyfuss is the sickly father always dozing through ballgames who is the reason Adam is desperate for cash.

The story, based on a Joseph Finder novel, takes a very long time to get up to speed. There’s all this thinly atmospheric filler about surveillance — the ways our phones track us, the “security” that they provide and that is so easily hacked, the sinister people misusing all this data.

One of the nifty plot devices is Adam’s unheralded gift for instantly figuring out the pass code to any phone he picks up, handy when you’re infiltrating a paranoid corporation whose latest phone innovation will “start a revolution.”

The laziest scripts over-explain themselves, starting with redundant voice-over narration and finishing with the weariest truisms, bromides and rules to live by. (“Be careful what you wish for. … If you let no one in, you get burned by no one” and “You have to fit in to get in.”)

Maybe those lines will seem fresh to the younger target audience for which Paranoia aims.

Yes, your phone may be your undoing — revealing your secrets, causing you to wreck your car or walk in front of a bus while lost in texting. That’s enough to make you paranoid. This movie? Not so much.

— Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service


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