Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall star in your average, run-of-the-mill procedural, Closed Circuit (opening today), a film that feels both familiar and dull all at once.
A terrorist, suicide-bombing rocks a British marketplace, leaving only one suspect alive and in police custody. Since the death toll was massive, the public demands justice for the heinous act. But when the defense attorney dies unexpectedly, it opens the doors to a conspiracy that engulfs an entire nation.
Enter new defense attorney, Martin Rose (Bana). According to British procedure dealing with trials of national security, a public and a private defense is administered in the courts. Where Rose will handle the public side of the trial, Claudia Simmons-Howe (Hall) is the Special Advisor who will handle the classified portions of the hearing.
Complicating matters, Martin and Claudia have a romantic past. Again according to British law, the public and private defenders cannot have any contact with one another. That little detail becomes a pretty huge sticking point when both of them are pulled into a cover-up much bigger than either of them could have imagined.
The wonderful Ciaran Hinds mails in a performance as Rose’s right-hand man and Julia Stiles shows up as a reporter with a nose for the cover up. Jim Broadbent gives the film’s best performance as the corrupt Attorney General.
Closed Circuit is about as predictable and vanilla as a crime-thriller can get. It’s not that it’s inherently bad, it’s just that it offers nothing new or exciting. From it’s predictable plot developments to a ludicrous last half-hour, Closed Circuit stays positively lukewarm from start to finish.
Take their names even. “Rose” is the good guy, and I wonder what side a guy called “Devlin” could be on. And Claudia must be a strong, independent women, since she was given a hyphenated last name.
As the plot unfolds and involves the son of the suspect, things unravel quite quickly. If the super-important information this kid possessed all along was just on a thumb drive, why was he important to have to begin with? Are you telling me that the bad-guy powers-that-be couldn’t have just taken it from him? Suspension of belief is allowed in certain types of movies, but this one will test your limits.
Still, for fans of a good political conspiracy story, Closed Circuit isn’t half-bad. Not quite a ringing endorsement for a film that has been done several times better, several times before.
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Run Time: 1 hours, 36 minutes, Rated R
Starring: Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall, Jim Broadbent, Ciaran Hinds, Julia Stiles, Riz Ahmed,
Written by Steven Knight (Redemption, Eastern Promises, Dirty Pretty Things)
Directed by John Crowley (Is Anybody There?, Boy A, Intermission)
Opens locally on Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 (check for show times).
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How to read Tom Santilli’s “Star Ratings:”
- 5 Stars: Exceptional, must-see movie
- 4 Stars: Very good movie, not without flaws
- 3 Stars: The movie was just OK, leaves a lot to be desired
- 2 Stars: Pretty bad, a let-down, disappointing, but with some redeeming qualities
- 1 Star: Awful, sloppy, a total waste of time