The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Closed Circuit | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Closed Circuit

A pair of lawyers representing a suspected terrorist uncover a conspiracy.

Directed by: John Crowley
Starring: Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall, Jim Broadbent, Ciarán Hinds, Riz Ahmed, Julia Stiles, Anne-Marie Duff

When a bomb is detonated in a busy London market, claiming 120 victims, a young Turkish man is arrested under suspicion of masterminding the attack. The attorney general (Broadbent) picks lawyer Martin Rose (Bana) to represent the suspect, aided by special advocate Claudia Simmons-Howe (who Martin previously had a marriage ending affair with), following the suicide of the man originally assigned to the case. As Martin and Claudia research the case, they soon realize they are under constant surveillance by MI5, who seem to be doing their best to manipulate their involvement.
Since the passing of the seventies golden age of the genre, political thrillers have tended towards the overblown and the undercooked. 'Closed Circuit' manages to be both. For the most part, it plays out like the sort of dull dramas that occasionally crop up midweek on UK TV. At a relatively brisk 90 minutes, though, the story has little time to develop and you can't help but wonder how much footage was left on the cutting room floor, or how many pages were excised from the script. A multi night TV mini series would seem more suited to this sort of drama.
The screenwriter behind this, Steven Knight, has carved out a reputation for gritty thrillers set against the multicultural backdrop of the British capital. His scripts are an odd combination of classic British social realism and Hollywood thriller, none more so than the Jason Statham starring 'Hummingbird', his directorial debut. 'Closed Circuit' follows this template, its TV drama blandness giving way in a final act that resembles a second rate Jason Bourne movie, with a debt to the Clint Eastwood chase drama 'The Gauntlet' as our heroes attempt to get a witness to court without being bumped off by shadowy MI5 agents.
A final speech from Broadbent makes you wish the actor had a more substantial role as he's easily the best thing about the film. Unfortunately he can't make up for the lack of chemistry between Bana and Hall, who both sleepwalk their way through the proceedings.
London is known for its abundance of surveillance cameras, constantly keeping a watch over its citizens. There's probably a great movie to be made on this subject but this isn't it.

Eric Hillis