It's the end of the month and typically the regular release films aren't always the best even though there is the occasional diamond in the rough and usually those of our ilk are so busy anyway that they tend to fall by the way side. "Closed Circuit" is a tense little thriller that tries to put us right into the moment of the times where are desperation to stay safe can also result in some tragic results.
Martin and Claudia are lawyers and ex-lovers who find themselves put at risk after they join the defense team for an international terrorist's trial and discover a web of lies and deceit behind a cover-up that reaches towards some of the highest halls of government and power in the United Kingdom.
From the director of "Boy A" and "Intermission" this was just a film where there really wasn't a great deal of energy, and there was supposed to be as the premise of "Closed Circuit" is at least supposed to generate a little bit of tension. Story elements are telegraphed and particularly awkward plot points are forced down our respective throats. The story moves at a decent clip, but the script from screenwriter Steven Knight feels choppy at the best of times as we jump through the story in a fairly uneven pace because any tension it tries to create feels heavy-handed and clunky despite it being a culturally relevant story. When there's dramatic reveals and intense musical cues in obvious spots it telegraphs the action telling the viewer that "this is when we are supposed to be on the edge of our seats" rather than focusing on tighter story elements to allow us as an audience to get their on our own. All in all it was messy storytelling, while the ensemble cast that had some decent pedigree to them just didn't get a lot to do.
Most people think that transitioning an Australian accent into a UK one should be easy, but it really isn't as Eric Bana who is originally from Melbourne can't quite stick the landing when it comes to a British accent. He's fine and is an obviously likeable lead, but the dialogue and the need for the script to either put in too much or not enough detail seemingly simultaneously doesn't do the ensemble cast any favours. Rebecca Hall in a rare misstep still manages some moments to shine as shows that she can carry a film. Hall and Bana are quality yet borderline leads and the material was simply not to up to snuff. Julia Stiles, Jim Broadbent, Riz Ahmed and Ciaran Hinds round out the ensemble well enough but the material was just truly, truly weak.
At the end of the day, "Closed Circuit" wanted to be better than it is and was a failed attempt at a pulled from the pages of the newspaper political thriller as it just fell flat more often than not.
1 out of 5 stars.
"Closed Circuit" is now playing at theatres all across the country, please check with your local listings for show times.