Saturday, September 27, 2014

Closed Circuit

Movie Review : Closed Circuit
Director : John Crawley
Genere : Thriller
Starring : Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall
Released : August 2013
My Rating : 6 out of 10

It seems to me that there are two clear approaches of making movies categorized as "thrillers". One has dazzling action sequences, fast moving story that tries to not give the viewer any time to find any plot holes and a few twists thrown in to wow them. Second type is based on slow build up, believable characters and maintaining intrigue till the end. "Closed Circuit" is of the second type.

A bomb explodes in a busy market in London killing many people. A tip allows the police to capture the alleged mastermind of the attack and he is put on a trial. This is the starting point of the story. We are given an explanation about the complicated legal procedure for trials involving national security, where some sensitive evidence can be presented only in a closed courtroom. As per the British legal system, there need to be two lawyers for the defense. One for the open trial, and one for the closed trial, and they cannot have contact with each other during the trial.

Martin Rose (Eric Bana) gets chosen as the defense attorney for the open trial, because the previously chosen lawyer commits suicide. The defense attorney for the closed trial is Claudia (Rebecca Hall). They had an affair in the past, but they chose to keep that knowledge to themselves in order to get the rare chance to fight a case with the national spotlight. As Martin digs deeper, he starts getting suspicious that things are quite different than what was being publicly acknowledged. Claudia also starts to feel that she is being constantly monitored. As the movie progresses we get more and more clarity about what actually happened.

Director John Crawley maintains the tension very well. Many times throughout the movie, we see the protagonists being constantly monitored via closed circuit cameras, as referenced by the movie title. The pacing is perfect.

The cast selection here is successful. Almost every one gives a believable performance. Eric Bana has acted well in many movies. He was the only bright spot in Troy for me, while Black Hawk Down and Munich were perhaps his most memorable performances. I had never noticed Rebecca Hall before, and she has provided perfect chemistry to Eric Bana here. Ciran Hinds (The Debt, Rome) and others provide able support.

The movie still falls very short of a satisfying experience. The problem is the shallow plot and lack of good surprising twists. We have seen these themes before. We can guess the secret very early, and it’s also revealed much before the movie is over. So the only question that remains once everything is out in the open is, what will be the final resolution? The ending is grounded in reality to some extent, but it’s still pedestrian. It will not leave you excited at the end, rather you will be feeling, “meh”. The same team produced "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy", which was far more satisfying.

I can neither recommend for watching this movie, nor against it. It’s a short movie, and doesn’t stray much. For example, the past relation between the leads is covered only in few dialogues. So time passes briskly, but without much payoff. It’s rated R, and should be fine for most teenagers.

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