The Circle is the latest adaptation from book to screen to be released over the weekend. From the trailer, this looked like a “Black Mirror” episode ready to happen where technology takes center stage and sneaks in from the backdoor takes over our lives without even realizing it.
When I see that a movie is based on a bestseller or a novel with a lot of buzz, I expect the story is innovative or at least different from the millions of stories that can be adapted. I admit that I was intrigued and curious to see how they were going to pull the story of a pseudo Google HQ called The Circle breaking out their new technology of marble size cameras all over the world for instant real time views to make sure that everyone, especially government officials, are transparent and not hiding everything to make sure that the American people are aware of their countries leaders.
Enters Mae (Emma Watson), the newest employee at the best tech company in the country who gets entangled in the conspiracy that this company is up to know good and removing our right to privacy and possibly free will.
While somewhat entertaining I found it hard to get into and engage for most of the film. There was no depth at all in every single character on screen. It was like watching drones acting out scenes from a high school play. Maybe that was the point of the movie. This cult like company has everyone believing that what this company is doing the whole time is okay. Between syncing every part of you online whether its your health stats or wearing a bracelet to track down your whereabouts in the company to make sure you are participating in post work activities was a little strange and there was no explanation for it.
Here are some of the questions that went unanswered while watching this: Why was this company so popular? Why was there only one government official who had a problem with this company and its products for invasion of privacy? Mae at some point ends up “drinking the Kool-Aid” without a clear reason why she started to believe in the thing she was selling. How did this happen? What was this company selling? All of their ideas presented in the film were so sketchy. This company is a hackers dream waiting to happen. Identity theft at its best made so easy. We received no info to this and a lot of other things in this movie. The structure of this script just put us in a world where we are supposed to except the status quo.
This is considered to be a thriller in some ways. That is how it was advertised in my opinion. It was more of a smack my head movie with how obvious everything you’re watching is all wrong and it just takes away any kind of suspense this movie was supposed to have. There were disturbing moments where having the world watch your every move and how it can affect your life. There was a questioned asked in the movie that made me think. “If you knew you were being watched, would you have behaved better or worse?” Which brings their justified reasoning that everyone should be logged in and go transparent and be watched. Without secrets frees us to be the best we can be. The theory of having the urge to do what you shouldn’t be doing just because no one is watching is something to talk about. They had it but the execution just wasn’t that thrilling enough to go to the movies to watch on screen.
The supporting cast brought on some heavy hitters but they were all used wrong as their characters could have been played by anyone. Some of them include John Boyega, who plays a tech genius hiding in plain sight who plays very little part in discovering the truth behind The Circle. Patton Oswalt as the COO who just played somewhat a parrot to Tom Hanks character Bailey the director/CEO of the company, who is probably the nicest asshole I have seen as an antagonist. Tom Hanks’s first scene in the film is him on stage addressing his employees in a company meeting, I thought to myself “The last time I saw him on screen was Toy Story 4”. I need to catch up with his movies stat. It’s been a while since him and I had a moment. The only interesting characters was Mae’s parents played by Glenne Headly and the late Bill Paxon. Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy) almost had an interesting character but her storyline was in the distant background so she was a missed opportunity. I’m sure watching her character navigate through the movie could have provided more connection to the movie and story.
So overall moviegeeks, I can tell just how watered down this movie is I can tell the book is a lot better with probably a bunch of scenes removed from this movie to keep it family friendly to bring in the pre teens and fans of Emma Watson. I don’t even have to read the book to know that either. So I would love to hear if I was right about this. If anyone has read the book, comment and let me know if there was any big cuts from the book that could have made this movie more adult and interesting. Through this tease of something possibly epic, the conclusion was anti climatic with an ending that didn’t really satisfy the time put into the movie. No twist or revelation that makes the story go full circle (see what I did there). I can’t fully recommend this movie but if you want a preview to where are world is headed in the future, check this movie out. Otherwise you are looking at a rental.
Hopefully this was enough to help you decide if this is the movie for you. I want to hear what you think of the movie and this review. Comment below.