Closed Circuit Reviews

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Super Reviewer
January 17, 2014
They see your every move.

Good Film! Closed Circuit is a good, although unexceptional, suspense movie. The movie has a strong start but a weak finale, and somewhere in the middle looses stream and starts plodding along to its inevitable conclusion. The story itself tests the limits of plausibility and features principal characters who have little warmth and fail to generate much empathy. The question of government duplicity is treated in an unimaginative manner and fails to generate any sense of concern or outrage. Yet the movie does entertain by generating a certain level of tension, albeit watered down. The question of cover up sustains the story and adds an element of tension. Yet there are no heroes which makes the ending anticlimactic. That certain scenes are set at a football game is unoriginal. Further, the alleged victim of a miscarriage of justice is hardly worthy of empathy and the same goes for his family, especially the fourteen year old son who belongs in juvenile detention. The acting is cheesy, the cinematography unspectacular, the story twists and turns predictable and the movie theme muddled. Yet, this movie should be watched because it dramatizes what happens when the truth is suppressed and transparency is discarded in favor of secrecy.

A high-profile terrorism case unexpectedly binds together two ex-lovers on the defense team - testing the limits of their loyalties and placing their lives in jeopardy.
Super Reviewer
September 2, 2013
Though the cast alone seems to promise much, little is actually delivered here. Government conspiracy seems to be the villain but hardly ever shows its face - everyone is constantly looking around as if they are being watched or listened to but nobody but nobody is ever there and the characters we are supposed to care about are given zip insofar as reason to care goes. The result is a dull film (excepting for the person of Jim Broadbent - who alone rises above this snorefest). Didn't get any sleep recently? This is just the cure. Nighty-night.
Super Reviewer
October 9, 2013
Closed Circuit is boring, predictable and just all around mediocre. Save yourself the money and the 96 minutes.
Super Reviewer
½ September 1, 2013
As the Attorney General(Jim Broadbent) so eloquently puts it, when it comes to the trial of suspected terrorist Farroukh Erdogan(Denis Moschitto), the trial will be in separate parts. One will be public while the other will be in private session for all the good stuff the government does not want made public, each handled by a separate barrister and never the twain shall meet. Except in this case when they already have. Martin Rose(Eric Bana) has been appointed to replace the barrister who committed suicide and at whose funeral Joanna Reece(Julia Stiles), a New York Times reporter, leaves her card. His opposite number on the defense side is Claudia Simmons-Howe(Rebecca Hall) whose affair with probably led to his very messy divorce.

Since time immemorial, courtroom drams have served as a way for dramatists to explore the issues of the day.(I would like to submit "Anatomy of a Murder" as exhibit A.) And that's what "Closed Circuit" attempts to do with the current security state. With the the exception a very good cast(that also includes Ciaran Hinds, Anne-Marie Duff & Riz Ahmed), one great line concerning the (in)accuracy of British tabloids and one comment by a govnernment official who has no idea what the meaning of freedom is, the movie fails, largely due to its leaps of logic and overly expository dialogue expressed by characters and a movie that have already made up their mind, leaving little room for any kind of character development. Since this is set in the wake of a terrorist attack that kills 120 people, one should realistically expect more of an emotional response than a polite discussion of changed security procedures.
Super Reviewer
July 13, 2014
I had a mixed reaction to the film. The film seemed a little predictable. I was also questioning their casting choices. What bugged me the most was that the film felt like a TV show and not a movie. It kind of reminded me of movies like Primal Fear, Class Action, The International, The Firm, just to name a few.

Eric Bana was ok, but I thought that Clive Owen would have been better in the role. With Rebecca Hall, she was also ok, but thought that Rosmand Pike would have been better in that role. I didn't think that Bana and Hall had a good on screen chemistry. Jim Broadbent was a bit over the top in some scenes. The best one in my opinion was Julia Stiles. She steals the film and she is in a few scenes. She also seems like she doesn't fit with the rest of the cast.
Super Reviewer
March 15, 2014
Intermittently compelling and also predictable, Closed Circuit is the sort of thriller that you want to really like, often do, and yet can't help but be underwhelmed by. The film pits two ex-lovers with each other on a defense team for an accused mastermind bomber, though technically barred from communicating with one-another, on account of National Security interests. It's an interesting premise, yet one that never seems to reach its full potential.

What Closed Circuit did well was create the sort of hyper-aware state of tension we are in the West, especially true of the incredibly surveilled city of London. The backdrop of this makes Closed Circuit feel timely, with a fair amount of paranoia. Director John Crowley did a good job using this paranoia to fuel the tension on screen, heightening the stakes appropriately. I also appreciated the legal framework for which the film is set in, exploring the Orwellian system that has both "secret evidence" and "fairness". The performances are also strong, with the underrated Eric Bana having a fair amount of chemistry with Rebecca Hall.

Where Closed Circuit fails, or at least underachieves, is in its climax and resolution. We see the beats before they occur, with the ending having a curiously ambiguous tone.

The film seemed to lack a daring sensibility to it, almost appearing critical of its subject, yet never fully thrusting itself in to it. Instead, it opted for an easier avenue, with predictable outcomes and bland commentary.

3/5 Stars
Super Reviewer
½ December 31, 2013
This British-American crime thriller directed by John Crowley and written by Steven Knight, stars Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall, Ciarán Hinds, Jim Broadbent, and Riz Ahmed. It was a story which in the subtitle had the words "they see your every move" - and that paranoia was present in every scene, even when there was no reason for it. Don't get me wrong, as an Australian, I do not trust any government, and I know what the individuals could be capable of - if given a chance... but some of the conspiracy holes in this story were just too much to bare.

The film opens with a crowded London market (Borough market) being destroyed through an explosive terrorist attack. Farroukh Erdogan is detained as the primary suspect and mastermind of the attack while his two alleged co-conspirators are killed in attempts to apprehend them. Lawyers Martin Rose and Claudia Simmons-Howe are selected by the British Attorney General to represent Farroukh in court after the previous lawyer fell off a roof. The two lawyers secretly had an affair in the past, which became known to Martin's wife and has caused an alienation from her and their son. Due to the classified nature of the sources in the trial, the trial is split into two divisions. Claudia will represent Farroukh in closed hearings to attempt to determine which classified pieces of information are required for his defense. Martin will represent him in the open trial using information allowed by the closed hearings. The two lawyers are not allowed to contact one another. In the beginning the story was built carefully and we will soon find out why the couple was chosen for this "assignment".

This was an interesting viewing for an episode of a TV show, but the lack of chemistry between Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall was so obvious that was impossible to stand at the moments. Eric Bana was a great comedian at his early Australian years, but since he went to the United States, I could not remember one role which could stand out! The directing was too predictable and simply boring. Safe, unchallenging and very low key. This was an opportunity which was squandered because of the directing and screenplay, and the wrong casting... too many things for one movie.
Super Reviewer
½ August 30, 2013
With all the makings of a pithy and memorable thriller, "Closed Circuit" takes its flashy and topical subject matter of a government cover-up and squanders it with a less than impressive delivery. Saved mostly by the acting chops of the wonderful Rebecca Hall and an expected yet captivating performance from Eric Bana, what the film lacks in production and screenplay quality, it makes up for, not only with in-your-face lead performances, but with genre-bending supporting performances from Jim Broadbent, Ciarán Hinds, and Riz Ahmed as well. Constantly jumping forward through time, the action often loses steam by taking giant leaps away from its driving force. For example, with a giant hook of an intro, involving a terrorist attack in a public outdoor market, the film instantly jumps six months into the future and, in the process, loses any anticipation built following the explosion. Taking some liberties and stepping away from the expectations placed on films coming out of Hollywod, Crowley's British sub-thriller is able to deliver a few surprises as well as an unpredictable ending that may fall off a bit too quickly but strays from the norm. An action-thriller taking place mostly behind closed doors rather than in exterior chase scenes, the film touts a big, suspenseful game, but when it finally comes down to it, without its strong cast, "Closed Circuit" would be just another "us versus them" incarnation.
Super Reviewer
December 10, 2013
Grinds to a halt in spite of efforts of Eric Bana and cast.
February 10, 2014
A Few Good Men with even bigger conspiracy theories, isn't as good as it's premise sounds. Director John Crowley tries to create a film that is full of paranoia and tension, but elects to plainly state how paranoid the characters are rather than forcing the audience to feel this tension. The film suffers because it's just so boring, and for a film with so many twists and turns, I should have been captivated.

The whole film has this drab look, while still trying to be stylish. It's clearly drawing inspiration from the latest Bourne films in its attempt to portray the intelligence community in a post 9/11 world. However, it doesn't do it in an effective manner.

What bothers me so much about this film is that it can't make up its mind what it wants to be. Court room drama, government conspiracy theory film, spy thriller, what is it trying to be? The problem is it's trying to be all of them, and isn't effective at any of them.
½ February 9, 2014
Bana and Hall were great. This was a highly entertaining story about corruption and the lives of people being manipulated by their government.
½ August 28, 2013
Saw "Closed Circuit," a pretty solid but slightly staid legal surveillance-state thriller with some moments of greatness. 3.5 of 4 stars.
August 28, 2013
solid thriller, it was interesting to see how the british judicial system worked, tho it is pretty funny seeing them in those white wigs, i like all the actors involved and they do good jobs here, ill be honest, its nothing memorable and i doubt this will stay with me, but it was well done and in the moment i enjoyed it
September 24, 2015
The movie was great. The similarities to the first WTC bombing are overwhelming. Obviously MI5, CIA, et. al. got to or threatened the reviewers and shilled as audience to Keep People from going and seeing this. It is not your Action packed, juvenile spy movie, but Shows why no one speaks up about any of the false flag crimes against humanity.
½ August 19, 2015
I'd never heard of this before, and I'm not sure why as it's really quite a good film. A classy courtroom thriller based around a terrorist conspiracy. Eric Bana's English accent is as believable as the rest of the film too.
June 24, 2015
A really good British suspense thriller. Americans probably won't understand the subtleties of this movie as there are no steamy sex scenes or shoot-outs or car chases or bombs going off (except one in the beginning). The movie made a good case why closed courts do not always do justice to the parties involved. Good performances by the main characters made for an entertaining two hours. Recommended.
August 17, 2013
This is a good movie. Keeps you on your twos. Speaks about the inevitability of action and quite realistic compared to what I assumed it would be. Not that bad as RT thinks it to be.
February 11, 2015
It starts off intriguing, but really doesn't pay off in the end. And it doesn't do a good job explaining why things happen and such. The payoff just doesn't matter as it derides into standard thriller territory and never quite feels resolved.
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