★★☆☆☆ The Circle, Imagine Nation Abu Dhabi & Likely Story & Playtone
This techno-thriller fails to keep us wanting more. The combination of actors such as Emma Watson, Tom Hanks and John Boyega gives us all kinds of hope for a triumphant film, which sadly gets shattered.
Its sudden release onto Netflix this July sparked an interest as to why it barely made it into British cinemas. At first it was intriguing. Technology, mystery and Emma Watson. What was not to love? Now that Harry Potter is a thing of the past and Beauty and the Beast has had it’s 15 minutes of fame; this could be the next big thing. Your heart sank the moment you realised it was never going to be this great techno-thriller you thought it was going to be.
Mae gets a job at The Circle with thanks to her friend Annie (played by Karen Gillian). From the steps of a boring job at a water company to the doors of The Circle, Mae is ecstatic and couldn’t be happier. Mr Bailey (played by Tom Hanks) is co-founder of The Circle and soon takes a shine to Mae and invests his time and effort into pursuing a better world with her help. Things take a turn for the worse but with such minimal effort.
In an age where technology has grasped everyone’s interest and the use of social media is forever constant, The Circle’s aim is to engage the audience and to think about the use of technology and its consequences. How much information can one store? What actually is privacy and do we really have it? So many questions yet hardly any answers are given within the film. It’s thought provoking yes, but only at rare moments.
Mae Holland (played by Emma Watson) and her totally fake American accent is humorous. You can’t help but laugh a little as soon as her mouth opens in the first few minutes. It doesn’t suit the beloved British actress. Its feeling of fakeness is a letdown but you have to give her credit for trying.
Sadly, two of its finer actors are lost to us. The death of actors Bill Paxton and Glenne Headley before and after this film was released was truly shocking. Paxton played Mae’s father, Vinnie who suffers from MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and his wife Bonnie is played by Headley. Both these actors worked beautifully together and the scenes that gave us the real emotions always had the two together, along with their daughter Mae. Each scene that saw the couple struggling to do mundane things like eat food or go to the bathroom or even have sex felt raw and pulled at the heartstrings. You forget for a moment about the film’s main plot, and you simply focus on the reality of home life for Mae. How it’s about family and how it can be about nothing else.
Its pace is slow at first and the storyline pretty much non-existent. However, It’s a thought provoking film at times, which makes you think a little too hard. In some parts throughout it can be difficult to keep up as It goes from 0 to 60 in such a short space of time. You think to yourself ‘have I missed something?’ The film simply lacks suspense and disappoints thoroughly.