Film Review – The Circle (2017)

Title – The Circle (2017)

Director – James Ponsoldt (The End of the Tour)

Cast – Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, John Boyega, Karen Gillan, Patton Oswalt, Ellar Coltrane

Plot – Young up and comer Mae (Watson) accepts an admin job at world dominating tech company The Circle run by its charismatic leader Eamon Bailey (Hanks). Living her life on the company campus and getting involved deeper and deeper into the companies new advances in technology, Mae’s morals begin to be tested when the true implications of what The Circle is up begin to make themselves known.

“Knowing is good, but knowing everything is better”

Review by Eddie on 14/11/2017

What a disappointment.

Named as one of my most anticipated films of 2017, for what I thought was good reasoning; solid source material, great director, intriguing cast and potent subject matter, but The Spectacular Now and The End of the Tour director James Ponsoldt’s adaptation of Dave Egger’s best-selling book of the same name is a mighty letdown of a movie.

The Circle really has no right to be as boring and bland as it is but despite the ample talent at its disposal and in many ways highly relevant examination of the Big Brother like world we are quickly becoming, where every move can be watched, tracked and examined, Ponsoldt’s film fails to fire in any sufficient way whilst wasting a talented cast in the process.

The film looks good in a workmanlike fashion and it feels like it’s always going to branch out and become something exciting or at the very least mildly engaging but as Emma Watson’s young go-getter Mae takes up a seemingly simple admin job at global technology company Circle, only to find herself caught up with Tom Hanks company head Eamon Bailey, The Circle quickly finds itself caught up in an endless loop of conferences, bad sub-plots involving a sick parent sadly played by the late Bill Paxton (in a role you wish wasn’t one of his last) and a narrative that never ends up going anywhere after near 2 hours of running time.

The Circle clearly has some hot topic issues at play and wants to examine them in an ultra-hip and subversive way but Ponsoldt’s film captures none of the tension or mystery that no doubt helped Egger’s book become a fast-selling novel and we never feel invested in Mae’s plight as she gets involved in the cult-like world of the Circle’s employee group.

It doesn’t help that Mae isn’t exactly the easiest person to warm to, happy to use people to advance her own self-gain and very easily led to do things she clearly isn’t keen for, Watson struggles to make Mae work while Hanks doesn’t get a lot to do bar a nice take on a Steve Jobs like CEO, whilst Force Awakens breakout star John Boyega may as well have not shown up at all with his character of Ty, a Circle employee who quite clearly doesn’t drink the Kool-Aid barely getting a look in, even though he at first seems like a major player in events to come. The less said about Boyhood star Ellar Coltrane’s role here as Mae’s friend Mercer the better.

Final Say –

There’s no reason to see The Circle, a hugely disappointing film from a director as talented as Ponsoldt and while it may not be the years “worst” film its easily one of the year’s biggest flops that could’ve easily been so much more, as this truly is a film that threatens to do a lot but ends up doing nothing at all.

1 deer antler chandelier out of 5

10 responses to “Film Review – The Circle (2017)

  1. This movie had so much potential. A story based on a bestselling book, talented and respected actor / actresses, and a social commentary message that speaks to the modern age. However, the movie fails in almost all categories underneath lazy (and confusing writing), flat characters, and some hokey scenarios.

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