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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Closed Circuit (2013)


Good thing I don’t live in London. Seems like they’re government is crazy.

Over 120 people were killed after an explosion was set-off in very busy London marketplace, and the main suspect is an Turkish immigrant known as Farroukh Erdogan (Denis Moschitto). After his defense attorney is mysteriously killed, Martin Rose (Eric Bana) rises on the scene and is given the opportunity to work with special advocate Claudia Simmons-Howe (Rebecca Hall). Seems fine and professional and all of that, except it isn’t because the two had an affair that destroyed Rose’s marriage some years earlier. However, the court can’t know about that, or else they would both be out of a job and would lose this case; one that surprisingly ends up being very serious and detrimental to the government, because people begin to wind-up dead, just as more and more information comes out about it.

The best way to really, and I do mean REALLY, get a thriller pumping, is just to add the threat of the government. Once they’re involved, then you know there’s nowhere safe to go, nowhere to hide and no way you can come out of this unscathed in one way or another. Mostly all thrillers end the same with the government prevailing and showing us that no matter how hard us determined human-beings may try, the government is always going to be one step ahead of us and ready to lift their magical, power fingers in order to come out on top. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles and although this movie does give us very subtle hints at what type of powerful wrecking force the government can truly be, it never seems to go anywhere with it.

It's the paper-guy. He can't be trusted. KILL HIM!!

It’s the paper-guy. He can’t be trusted. KILL HIM!!

See? Didn’t think all of my jabbering and ranting had a point, now did you?

Anyway, where I was getting at with that paragraph was that the movie definitely wants to be like one of those frenetic, paranoid thrillers from the 70′s, but never fully amounts to that. And I don’t mean that in the way that the movie doesn’t generate any type of suspense or tension in the air, because it sure as hell does; it just never quite gets to that point where I understood that this was a “Two small-time lawyers vs. the big-ass government” type of story. It only kicks in with about 10 minutes left, and that’s where I really understood what was going on, for what reasons, and who exactly was all involved with this cluster-fuck. Only then did I get a chance to pain the full-picture, but everything leading-up to it was just a tad too confusing for me.

Not because I need every single clue, hint or plot-twist painted out on the walls for me, it’s mainly just because the story never sits with one aspect and pays attention to it the most. We get that these two got it on back two years ago, and rather than making that the fore-front of the movie and paying attention to how this whole case causes a strain on they’re relationship, the movie only alludes to it from time-to-time, and suddenly, out of nowhere, becomes ALL about it by the end, just as things with the political-conspiracy is starting to heat up. That bothered me, not just because it seemed unnecessary or stupid, but because it probably would have made the movie more effective and more suspenseful, had we cared for these characters and their relationship, but we sort of don’t. We just sit there, watch them as they fumble around, look behind their shoulders everytime they turn a corner and throw subtle hints that they just want to get on top of the table right now and go at it like never before. Some of that sounds fun, but most of it isn’t.

However, as much of a thrashing as this movie may be getting from yours truly, I do have to say that I got tense very often. It isn’t like the flick totally loses all sense of its mystery and what it’s actually about; it actually pays close enough attention to the case, therefore, allowing us to feel more compelled when we begin to realize what’s happening and what this cover-up means. Once we get painted a clearer-picture, it all makes sense and takes you by the throat and throws you along, I just wish it happened earlier, and with more character-development.

"Screw this case! Let's just screw one another, for old time's sake!

“Screw this case! Let’s just screw one another, for old time’s sake!

That said, I can’t get on the cast’s case all that much because everybody does their best with what they’re given, even if it is only for a short amount of screen-time. Rebecca Hall is still one of those actresses that has yet to really do anything for me, but she shows that she’s getting bigger and better roles now, especially with her performance here as Claudia Simmons-Howe. Hall’s a bit sexy, but she always seems inspired to do the right thing, which makes it a lot easier for us to actually root her on and care for her when the shit hits the fan. Eric Bana, despite having a pretty piss-poor British accent attached to his vocal-chords, does a nice job being smart, confident, and slightly heroic as Martin Rose. Together, they show that they do have chemistry, but since they aren’t on-screen together all that much and aren’t really given much to do with one another other than just look scared and shout out facts of the case, it only feels like a missed-opportunity.

The rest of the cast is pretty rad too, especially because they have some real heavy-hitters here. Jim Broadbent is probably the most sinister he’s ever been here as the Attorney General of the case, and shows that he can not only charm us, but make us wet our shorts at the same time when he wants to; Ciarán Hinds is a lovable presence to watch on screen, but you know that there’s always something up with him that you can’t quite put your finger on just yet; Julia Stiles randomly shows up as a New York Times journalist whose role shows not much purpose, but it still made me smile seeing her working again, so that’s something to commend; and Anne-Marie Duff, for all of the sexiness that she has, really scared the hell out of me as Melissa, somebody you expect to be a goodie-goodie in all of this, but somehow turns out to be the decider in all that happens. Overall, a solid cast that I wish was given more to work with, even though they do make the best of what they have here.

Consensus: Even though it doesn’t really get tense and edgy until the final 10 minutes or so, Closed Circuit is still an okay watch if you don’t have much else to do with your life, just don’t expect much in terms of character-development or shocks.

6.5 / 10 = Rental!!

Something's out of place here, and it isn't that red dress.

Something’s out of place here, and it isn’t that red dress.

Photos Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

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16 responses to “Closed Circuit (2013)

  1. jagarrett August 28, 2013 at 5:54 am

    Just from the trailers, it had the look of wanting to be self-important, and taking itself a bit too seriously. But then, I guess I get that feeling whenever I see a cast full of big names these days. It’s just a shame. The concept has a ton of potential.

  2. vinnieh August 28, 2013 at 11:37 am

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  3. mikeyb @ screenkicker August 28, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    I get really irritated by these kind of films that build up a massive conspiracy and then don’t know what to do with it. Great review

  4. Whit's Movie Reviews August 28, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Terrific review Dan! Shame this isn’t better, I was really looking forward to this one. I’ve heard a lot of hate for this flick so it’s good to hear someone who doesn’t completely bash it.

  5. Pingback: Tell Me It Isn’t True | Grumpa Joe's Place

  6. The Hot Rod August 29, 2013 at 2:04 am

    I was sold on this film purely on the inclusion of Eric Bana – I’ll watch anything he’s in (I have to, it’s kinda a prerequisite since he’s a fellow Aussie made good) and Rebecca Hall ain’t bad eye candy either.

    Sad to hear it’s not that exciting or thrilling – I felt much the same way about State Of Play with Rusty Crowe. I’ll still give it a shot though.

  7. ruth August 29, 2013 at 3:46 am

    I love the cast here, Bana, Hall and the oh-so-underrated Julia Stiles! I like the premise, was even thinking on seeing it on matinee this weekend.

  8. JustMeMike August 30, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Stiles is underused. Her main role is to fill Bana’s head up with ideas that he hadn’t thought of yet.
    Broadbent is terriific as the grandfatherly but oh-so-sinister AG.

    Dan, I thought the film was too easy – I mean you can see stuff coming from miles away, and a few times, they had to repeat stuff for impact as if they thought we needed help to connect the dots.

    I Liked Bana and Hall but I thought Riz Ahmed was a casting mistake. He’s a great actor – but his type – wasn’t right for the MI5 agent. They tried to explain his presence – but I wasn’t buying it. He looked more like a terrorist than the Turkish guy who was charged with the bombing.

    I liked that you mentioned that film was good at building the paranoia and the suspense – but I thought some times Hall and Bana’s characters couldn’t see the obvious, and then other times, they made connections that they had no business making.

    jmm.

  9. Tom September 1, 2013 at 1:03 am

    Just saw this. I have never felt so “meh” before about a movie. Damn it. this was supposed to be a fun escape from college football around here! ARRRGGHH!!!! (Good review, though.)

  10. Amonymous September 7, 2013 at 11:53 am

    This one has me intrigued. Think Bana is a very underrated actor, so will definitely check this out. Nice review.

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