Movie Review – Circle (2015)

Directors: Aaron Hann, Mario Miscione

Stars: Julie Benz, Mercy Malik, Sara Sanderson, Carter Jenkins, Michael Nardelli, Molly Jackson, Zachary James Rukavina, Jordi Vilasuso and many others

Fifty strangers find themselves locked in a mysterious chamber. Some of them are being killed off. At first it seems random, but they soon work out that they have the power to choose who gets killed and who survives.

The Circle has a large cast but revolves around a circle from which none of them are allowed to leave, unless it’s by death. This is a film that examines the way we judge other people and what we think makes people more or less worthy of life. The urgency in the film is due to the bolts of electricity that kill people at regular intervals, so the characters are never allowed to settle on a discussion, and as a view you aren’t allowed to settle either. I found myself thinking about what people were saying and what I would do in that situation, or at least what I hope I would do.

There’s a range of people involved and I think the film does a good job of looking at a variety of viewpoints. I loved seeing the logic different people used, and it was interesting to see how the perception of people could change from moment to moment based on an offhand comment or something that came to light. There are a few little twists along the way and I found it compelling to watch.

However, I was dreading the ending because it had that feeling that it was going to let the film down. And I was right. It has a somewhat ambiguous ending and it doesn’t do itself any favours, but I can kinda forgive it because the film is more about how  we interact with each other and how we look at each other, and in that respect the film didn’t let me down. It’s almost more of a thought experiment than a film, so I wouldn’t go into this expecting a good story or a strong narrative. Perhaps my background as a Philosophy student makes me more accepting of this, and I’m sure a lot of people will finish watching it and feel unsatisfied but I really enjoyed watching these people interact and how they tried to work out the system and each other.

So for me I loved it, but I know not everyone is going to.

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