Hey, reader! Yes, you sir or madam! Ever wonder if your government was, oh I don’t know… SPYING ON YOU! That’s totally absurd, though. In what world would our own Government spy on us and watch our movements and listen in on our conversations? Well, in Closed Circuit, the British Government that is doing all of those privacy invading things! The U.S. Government isn’t the bad guy, at least not for an hour-and-a-half.
The film opens with a cool mixture of many different video camera feeds that eventually all show the same footage from different angles. A white van backs into a market and then merely seconds later, it explodes. In all, 120 people were killed by the blast and an anonymous phone call tipped of the police to find a man named Farroukh Erdogan (Denis Moschitto). Farroukh is immediately detained is placed on trial, upon which a multitude of secret evidence is revealed that may threaten British security. Only select people may view this evidence and deem it harmful.
This is where Australian and English natives Eric Bana (or to me, Banana) and Rebecca Hall come in. Both lawyers, Martin & Claudia (Bana & Hall) will be defending Farroukh in court, but in two separate manors. Claudia will serve in the closed court hearings, while Martin will uncover any information he can. It’s noted, that Martin is replacing another lawyer whom killed himself during the case.
Martin and Claudia’s past affair makes their relationship interesting, as they’re supposed to have zero contact with one another before the trial. That would be fine, if Martin didn’t suspect some higher powers at work and feel the need to get in touch with her. He notices that the more he uncovers about the case, the more “strange” occurrences happen to him. He notices things like hailing the same exact Taxi three times in one day, “friends” somehow knowing where he was the previous night and shady characters whom he sees more and more often. Hall, on the other-hand, finds herself pestered by an unknown employee, named Nazrul (Riz Ahmed), and having to deal with Farroukh’s wife and child.
The more and more the two uncover, the more in danger they are. As they near a truth that may shock the nation, certain predictable events unfold and it’s a race against the clock to see if they can get the information out. It doesn’t help when the Attorney General (Jim Broadbent) seems to be playing on both sides. As interesting and almost thrilling as this film is, it’s one that you’ve seen before.
The most frustrating thing about this film, aside from its lackluster thrills and ending, is that all of the characters are hyper-intelligent. When they learn some small, nearly insignificant piece of the larger story, they seemingly know how everything played out. From their theories on how things played out, they arrive at the right conclusions and tell the entire story for you. You don’t get to find out the twists and turns in fun and elaborate ways. The characters will spend a few minutes to let their thoughts run wild and you’ll be told what everything means and what’s going on.
While you may discover things for yourself, the joy of how the characters will discover the same things is almost entirely gone. This film is billed as a thriller, but I’d beg to differ. Any “thrills” in this film would come from moments of surprise, but alas, there are very few of those. The biggest “thrill” in this film, for me, was remembering who one of the supporting characters was. This movie didn’t have to be like that. The story is interesting enough and the actors are fine, it’s just the script and direction that take you out of the film.
There isn’t too much else to say about Closed Circuit. It plays out like a routine “political thriller” and it suffers from the same shortcomings. It’s really a shame though, because I really like Erica Bana and Rebecca Hall and I thought they were good in this film! In total, the film runs around 90 minutes, so if you’re looking for a shorter film that will still entertain on some level, Closed Circuit might be for you! It’s not the best film ever, but it’s certainly far from the worst!
Closed Circuit Trailer