Pierce Brosnan has wizened from the days when he sipped martinis, “shaken, not stirred,” into roles as assorted well-heeled men who sip Scotch in their designer homes. Or private jets.
It’s not that he’s out of the action hero game. Films such as “The November Man,” “No Escape” and “Survivor” still pose him with a pistol on the poster as assorted agents, ex-agents, hit-men, etc. But even if he still has that Bondian hint of danger about him, at 63, he’s more suited to characters trying to hang on to what they’ve got than hungry hunters settling grudges, carrying out final hits and the like.
In “I.T.,” he plays a private aviation tycoon whose only means of saving his company is a new app that enables private jet owners to hire out and make more efficient use of their aircraft.
Mike Regan, assorted news stories on CNN and NPR tell us, is 52. And if Ireland (where they shot this) can pass for suburban Washington, D.C., why not? No need to trust every crusty close-up, which gives up his actual mileage.
Regan is something of a technophobe. He needs his wife’s (Anna Friel) help to operate the coffee maker. And he needs his IT team to make the app work and ensure that his Power Point presentation to his worried employees goes smoothly.
It doesn’t, but an IT temp on staff (James Frecheville of “The Drop” and “Animal Kingdom”) saves the day. That prompts Mike to invite the guy to fix the wi-fi in his new “smart” house. They discuss the house’s complicated electronics, so many devices interconnected, so many with cameras built into them. They’re turned off.
“I like my privacy,” Mike purrs, over his latest Scotch.
“Privacy’s dead, Mike,” Ed, the IT guy, declares. “Privacy isn’t a right. It’s a privilege.”
Ed proceeds to prove that to Mike by assuming a familiarity, a friendship. He takes that further when he inveigles his way into the life of Mike’s teenage daughter (Stefanie Scott). As boundaries fall and Ed fails to pick up signals that Mike doesn’t want them to fall, they fall out. And that’s when the real trouble begins.
“You are not the master of the universe, Mike.”
Director John Moore (“Behind Enemy Lines”) can’t smooth out the abrupt edges of this thriller, and can’t improve the script’s weary archetypes. Ed is ex-NSA (of course), lives alone in a nearly-abandoned building with only a wall of video screens to keep him company (of course). He stalks waitresses and reaches out through social media, where mixed messages and confused signals are rampant.
He’s a lonely loner in a vintage Charger, raving along to Missing Persons’ “What are Words For?” as if he’s never figured out the answer to that question, and never will. Frechville gives off a sinister vibe that we sense, even if Mike doesn’t, the first time we meet Ed.
Brosnan plays a classic technophobe here, a man whose house, family, business and wired-in Maserati are all threatened by this privacy-averse child of the voyeuristic/electronic New World Order. He responds by switching to his analog ancient Mustang, and a fixer (Michael Nyqvist of the original “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”) as old as he is. And he responds with violence, which of course begets more violence.
It’s all quite predictable — save for the sinister use of the music of Missing Persons — and a trifle bland. But the depictions of password-access mayhem are chillingly real, and Brosnan gets across the helplessness that many his age, all over the world, feel at the new tech and the new rules — no rules at all — threatening his ruin.
MPAA Rating: Unrated, with bloody violence, sexual situations, profanity
Running time: 1:35