Joseph Finder’s Paranoia: an average thriller with some cool characters

Paranoia (2013) poster drawn by me

Paranoia (2013) poster drawn by me

Gary Oldman has made me read lots of books ! Yes, first Harry Potter, then John Le Carre’s Tinker, Tailor and now Joseph Finder’s Paranoia.

I need not to re-iterate that I am a big fan of the actor. I have seen all of the films in which he acted. Yes, the cheap ones as well. Whenever I come to know that Oldman is acting in an upcoming film which is based on so and so novel, I just get the copy of the book and read it. So far I am thankful that he made me read good books. I became a fan of Harry Potter since I started reading the books to understand the character he played, of Sirius Black. I am now a die-hard fan of the whole Potter series. Then he played the role of retired British spy George Smiley in the 2011 movie adaptation of John Le Carre’s ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’. Now he will be seen playing the role of a ruthless business tycoon in Robert Luketic’s film adaptation of Joseph Finder’s novel, Paranoia.

Though I enjoyed the earlier books, Le Carre’s and J. K Rowlings, I dint find Paranoia that appealing. I find it as an average thriller, but with some cool characters. The movie is set to release day after tomorrow, and the critics are going to slam the movie anyway, so I thought before they tell the truth about the movie, I will write something about the book I read.

Paranoia is a thriller telling the story of an entry-level young employee in one of the major Tech firm who is given a special mission by his ruthless boss to spy on the rival company led by the boss’s competitor. He is given entry in the rival company to gain access and provide the ruthless boss with the details of the next project on which the competitor is working on which is going to change the entire technology space for that industry. When our hero goes in the rival company as a spy after being trained well, he finds himself being trapped in a web from where he cannot escape. He has to do all the espionage work in a company where the kind-hearted rival boss trusts him and at the same time he will be under constant watchful eyes of his ruthless real boss.

The story is good and I think has already been used in some movies as well. But what I really liked about the book was that each section starts with a quote from ‘diary of an espionage’; where the lead character, Adam tells about the different aspects of spy business on which the twist of that section is based.
Since I have been working in the Technology industry for last five years, I could relate to most of the technical stuff mentioned in the book. This was a telecom technology industry and I can understand most of the technical details mentioned in the book as I have worked particularly for this sector in IT industry for long. However, it is difficult for others who are not from the technical space to understand some portions of the book, specially the major technology shift that is mentioned in the most sought after deal for which Adam is spying.

Paranoia is a normal thriller with no surprising twists; at least they didn’t surprise me. But the book is indeed full of characters who are unique. I will quickly touch upon my favorites:

1. Nicholas Wyatt:

Gary Oldman as Nichilas Wyatt

Gary Oldman as Nichilas Wyatt

I would start with my favorite character from the story which, of course, is played by Gary Oldman in the film version. He is the most interesting character of  the story. He is ruthless, wealthy and not ashamed of what he is doing.

A perfect Bada**, an essential ingredient for a good thriller. He is an athlete build tall guy (quite opposite to Gary Oldman, but that doesn’t matter). He never misses a chance to humiliate Adam, and even though he uses Adam as a spy he always addresses him as if he is doing a great favor to a worthless man and also he makes sure that his terror is always present in Adam’s mind. There is a great quote about Nicholas Wyatt in the book: “There is only one difference between God and Nicholas Wyatt. God doesn’t think that he is Nicholas Wyatt”

2. Adam Cassedy:

Liam Hemsworth as Adam Cassidy

Liam Hemsworth as Adam Cassidy

The lead character. He is the victim but one can draw from the story that he brought it all on himself. He uses company’s money for throwing up a party and he is caught by HR. Instead of being fired, he is appointed by his boss, Wyatt, for a new mission; to spy on the competitor. Though he never had a choice but to accept this proposal, he finds himself trapped. While he is working on a dangerous spy mission trying to avoid suspicion from his new bosses, he is also paranoid of the ever watchful eyes of Wyatt and his men. He feels guilt when the competitor Jock Goddard begins to remember his dead son in Adam. He feels emotionally turned when he is forced to betray the ones whom he started to admire. The interesting thing I liked about Adam is that he used to be a oversmart. He used to think that he could fool anyone in the HR department of his company with his emotional appeal in the beginning of the story. This reminds me of my own character, ‘Dhananjay’ whom I created for one of my comics ‘Chhal’.  Liam Hemsworth will be playing the role of Adam.

3. Nora Summers: She is the immediate reporting manager of Adam when he joins the rival company. She is cold-hearted, evil and devious. You can find such examples in almost all IT companies. I liked the crooked character of Nora. She tries to humiliate Adam when he joins her team, just because she does that with every new joinee. Looking forward to this character in the movie. Christina Marzano will be playing this role.

4. Frank Cassidy: The father of Adam. He is a troubled, aged dying father. He always shows hatred and is always shouting at the top his lungs telling Adam that he is of no worth and he is being used by his superiors. Adam hates his father for his words but also loves him and cares for him as he is dying. Somehow Richard Dreyfuss’s portrayal in the film seem more subtle and gentle. Dunno, have to see the movie for that.

5. Others:

Amber Heard as Emma

Amber Heard as Emma

Harrison Ford as Jock Goddard

Amber Heard as Emma is playing the love interest of Adam. Adam comes to know when he joins the competition that he is filling the position left by Emma who is now working in the same company in a different division. To get more insight on her secret project, he develops romantic relation with Emma but soon starts to love her for real. Amber would be the glamour factor of the film.

Harrison Ford will play the role of Jock Goddard; the rival of Nicholas Wyatt. He is an old man with much experience in the industry. He starts trusting Adam since his first meeting and begins to develop an emotional bonding with him as he begins to see his dead son in Adam and begins to trust him deeply; further increasing the guilt inside Adam. Jock Goddard is mentioned as an earlier mentor of Nicholas Wyatt in the film. He is also shown as bald.

The book is an average thriller with no surprises in the suspense, which is much more predictable. Sadly, the movie looks even worse. If you happen to see the trailer, you can guess the whole story. I don’t understand how can they make this big mistake of making a trailer like that.

You can see the trailer here:

Anyway the movie is gonna be a crap but I will watch it for Gary Oldman who I know will shine as always 🙂


About Mrinal Rai

I am a story teller. My unconscious self works a 9 hours a day in IT paying my due credits to my educational qualifications (read degrees). My conscious self is always busy 24X7 weaving new stories and trying to find out ways to tell them. I have authored a book, drawn few comic books, graphic novels and more are on the way :)
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