By Mark Saldana 

Rating: 2.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

With Closed Circuit, director John Crowley and screenwriter Steven Knight present a partially effective suspense thriller that involves a run-of-the-mill conspiracy subplot.  Most of the cast members deliver fine performances and the story does engage, offering thrills and excitement. The main problem is that the movie is just another run-of-the-mill conspiracy thriller and does meander occasionally with its legal procedurals and presentation of facts. The overall result is a film I cannot honestly recommend catching in the theater; therefore I would definitely encourage people to wait for a rental. As entertaining as the film is, nothing about the film’s lackluster cinematography warrants spending ticket prices to watch on a large movie screen. Nothing about the story and characters make this a film that must be seen as soon as possible.

Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall star as defense attorneys Martin Rose and Claudia Simmons-Howe, representatives of the only surviving suspect of a terrorist attack on a London market. There is much more to this attack than meets the eye, which becomes more apparent as Martin and Claudia dig deeper into the facts and evidence. It also becomes apparent that the previous counselor working on the case, who is recently deceased, might have uncovered too much information regarding the attack.  This makes the allegations of suicide highly unlikely.

Even typing that synopsis makes the movie sound somewhat corny, which it isn’t always the case, but the movie does have its share of corniness. This issue doesn’t just come from the plot alone. The presentation and execution of the film is also part of the problem.  The soundtrack features musical cues which come across as overly dramatic and suspenseful, giving the film a silly and sometimes laughable soap opera style. Even the actors portraying villainous or suspicious characters often over-emphasize their roles in the story with wide-eyed looks and stares. If these are their poker faces, they need to put their cards down and walk away.

Even a talented and gifted actor like Jim Broadbent is guilty of this crime in the film. Broadbent, who portrays the Attorney General, really surprised and disappointed me with an uneven performance. He has his brilliant moments, but for some reason, even this usually exceptional actor embraces that intense wide-eyed stare that gives away too much about his intentions. Normally, I would not have revealed this much about a character in a film; however, it does not take long to figure out who is up to no good in the movie. Some of the silly attempts at ominousness take away so much from the impact of the big reveals.

Despite these problems, the movie does have its moments, but not enough to make this a satisfying ticket purchase at the theater.  Everything plays out like a soap or TV movie of the week; therefore, people would be better off watching it at home on their televisions. There are plenty of other cinema offerings more deserving of people’s money.






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