One new Sci-Fi thriller, “The Circle,” is not at all thrilling and is about as exciting as watching paint dry. The film attempts to tackle the big issue that faces users of social media, which is privacy or the lack of it.
And it fails in a dramatic fashion.
The story centers on Mae Holland (Emma Watson) who, after working in several unfulfilling jobs, lands a dream position at large technology company known as The Circle. The Circle similar is similar to companies such as Google and Facebook, as it works to connect people to the world and the world to people.
On the surface, The Circle seems to be exciting and innovative place. After a series of events, Holland’s life at seems to unravel. With a new perspective on life, Holland sees how destructive the Circle can be and is left with a choice to either go with the flow or do something radically different.
Sometimes stories crafted around divisive issues like the right to privacy work. In the case of “The Circle,” it stumbles. The story comes across as flat, unremarkable and does not have a defining moment. It rambles on like a car running on fumes hoping for a gas station on the horizon.
Most of the problems with the movie can be attributed to the casting and the weak writing. While the roles of The Circle’s founders Eamon Bailey played by Tom Hanks and Tom Stenton played by Patton Oswalt were decent, they were only supporting characters. Watson failed to bring everyone together in her leading role. Her portrayal of Holland seems lacking, as well. In the majority of her time onscreen, Watson comes across as looking bored or distracted. The attitude that Watson carries appears to disconnect her from the audience she is trying to reach. The performance causes audience not to be let into the story but is pushed away instead.
There have been several movies over the years that have talked about the rise of social media in today’s culture. These films have done it better because they have had a stronger story attached to it. Some of these movies include the “The Social Network,” “Disconnect” and the Sundance Film Festival documentary, “We Live in Public.”
In “The Circle” there seemed to be more drama rather than a connection with what is going on in today’s world. There was a vague image of today’s society but nothing much more beyond than that. The screenwriters, I felt, left the audience with more unanswered questions than answered. One of the few questions it did answer is that gave the audience a look at how Mark Zuckerberg might look through Hanks’ character.
At certain points in this film, I looked at my watch and was wondering when this movie was going to end. The fate of “The Circle” is evident — it will join the thousands of other unremarkable films in the bargain bin at your local discount store shortly.
Overall I give “The Circle” two mustaches out of five.
This movie is rated PG-13 for a sexual situation, brief strong language and some thematic elements including drug use. The film runs 110 minutes.
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