The Circle: A Flawed Cyber Thriller
Movie Review by Anirudh Madhav (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
While most sci-fi movies deal with aliens, robots and superheroes, The Circle’s storyline is based on an alarming issue set in a not-so-distant future – surrendering privacy. The Circle, adapted from Dave Eggers’s book of the same name, fails to portray the depth of cyber paranoia with its flimsy narrative.
The opening sequence introduces Mae (Emma Watson) into the sprawling world of The Circle. The company with Bailey (Tom Hanks) at the helm is a dream come true for Mae – swanky office spaces, recreation activities and friendly co-workers. A turn of events reveals the nefarious agenda of The Circle to Mae, who seeks to rescue humanity from the same.
The film desperately attempts to create a work culture parody of Google and Facebook, which is hardly realistic due to a lack of research in Silicon Valley. Mae (Emma Watson) is perplexed by the functioning and the products of The Circle and instances where the management prods her to build and update her social life within the Circle.
Occasionally, the storyline brings in some absurd ideas where microchips are implanted in children’s bones and people could use the Circle’s social networking platform to vote. Dressed in sweatshirts, Bailey (Tom Hanks) blends into the role of a super-cool boss who dreams to create a world where everyone can be watched and everything can be experienced. Annie (Karen Gillan) brilliantly portrays her transition from a high-handed employee and friend whose conversations are an eye-opener to Mae.
A scene featuring Mae and Mercer (Elllar Coltrane), where people surround and capture him with tablets and mobile phones deserves a mention for its chilling depiction of addiction to gadgets. The first half of the movie keeps its interesting pace despite its incomplete characterization of the cast. Vinne, played by the late acting great Bill Paxton has little to offer as Mae’s dad while Ty (John Boyega) makes occasional appearances as Mae’s friend. The latter half of the movie goes off-track and gives an incomplete picture of what Mae intends to do.
Director James Ponsoldt has demonstrated shoddy work in enhancing the theme of the film from the book, while the film’s subplots seem to have lost during the editing process. The Circle is easily one of the worst book adaptations in 2017 and is perfect example of how a sluggish narrative can fail a movie’s success despite a stellar cast.