From director Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde, 21) comes here the adaptation of Joseph Finder's acclaimed novel about dirty corporate bosses and the young climbers that aspire to be like them. Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford play the two rivalling former, while Liam Hemsworth is the latter and our protagonist. And it all starts out quite well, as we get to know a familiar but always seductive high-end, high-tech environment. The only problem is that the script is callow and completely devoid of originality; this is a tech-thriller in which the "tech" is limited to fancy sales talk about new cell-phone models.
What the film still has though, is some great casting. Well, really it has some great casting and some bad casting. The characters are generally one-dimensional and unremarkable, but as long as you put Gary Oldman in any kind of role, there's always the chance that he'll make something great out of it, and that is exactly what he does here. With his self-made cockiness, world-weary mannerisms, and brilliant Cockney accent (not much of a reach for Oldman), he turns Nicholas Wyatt from a boring villain into a compelling character - one you'd like to get under the skin of, and one you care about despite his less than sympathetic traits. Harrison Ford also has some fun as Oldman's rival, but the same cannot be said of Hemsworth's work in the lead. His Adam Cassidy is unremarkable in every way, and Hemsworth is too young and inexperienced to make the character interesting or even very believable. His scenes with the beautiful Amber Heard (who puts in an effort without much reward) seem contrived, and the only segments in which Hemsworth's character comes alive and the film has any kind of heart are the ones with his father, played with compassion by Richard Dreyfuss. Together they semi-salvage the finale in a nice scene.
The casting may be uneven, but it is miles better than the character development and the plot twists, which fall short of 21st century expectations. They're not so much twists as slow and expected turn of events. And although there are glimpses of inspiration and small portions of entertainment, with a dialogue that surprises every once in a while, there simply isn't enough in here to satisfy seasoned viewers. Whenever Paranoia is really watchable, it is because of Gary Oldman. Luckily, no film that can boast one great scene is a waste of time and money. And this film's great scene is of course the first encounter between Oldman's and Ford's characters. Just sit back and enjoy. And then you can skim through the rest.