Closed Circuit


  • Movie Review
  • Tuesday, 10 Sep 2013

Starring : Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall, Jim Broadbent, Ciarán Hinds

Director : John Crowley

Release Date : 12 Sep 2013

This thriller feels simplistic and stale at the same time.

ONE of my favourite types of movies is a crackling-good paranoid thriller, and this is the kind of picture that Closed Circuit wants to be, but it’s as if tension is a foreign concept for this British-based mystery.

The story begins with a solid crime-drama base - when a terrorist’s bomb kills 120 in a London marketplace, a high-profile murder case moves forward - and we do get a bit of a good education as to the English system of justice.

We also learn how another government goes about deciding what evidence should stay secret from the public in the “interest of national security,” showcasing national policy vs. wobbly ideals in the search for morality and justice in such cases.

Closed Circuit is one of those movies that has its cast running all over the place and so certain that they are being watched that they are suspicious of all cabbies, attend crowded sporting events for conversations and peer out of windows only to find someone peering back at them.

Despite our getting a grand look at London thanks to all of the running, there are missteps throughout this film with a theme that’s an evergreen - you can’t trust the government - but which feels simplistic and stale.

As the attorneys appointed to defend the terror suspect, Martin (Eric Bana of Munich) and Claudia (Rebecca Hall of Iron Man 3) are characters who are unique in at least one regard: They don’t much like each other.

It seems that Martin has undergone a nasty divorce and custody battle, due in some part to an affair he had with Claudia, and it’s left a sour taste in both their mouths. I really liked this quirky twist in the storytelling style, but it offered about the only originality in the script by Steven Knight (Eastern Promises).

Martin is assigned to the case after another lawyer commits suicide - which we all know is not a suicide. We learn early on that the defense attorneys are being spied upon (a conviction is a must in this case, so play ball, won’t you?) and who is doing the spying.

We are told that these lawyers were paired up because of their past association and conflict. We are reassured that they are fighting a hopeless battle against this conspiracy.

The result is a film that through shallow dialogue and far too many moments of coincidence (like supporting characters with important information dropping like flies) never surprises because it’s so intent on telegraphing the next move, apparently so that we don’t have to put up with complexities like surprises or wit.

While Bana and Hall are competent actors, we now know why they’ve never been paired together: They have all the energy of Tulsa’s bid to host the Olympics. This is a suspense-free match.

Too much of Closed Circuit feels familiar, and in this case, familiarity breeds contempt not for covert government actions, but for movies that we feel like we’ve seen before. – Tulsa World/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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