In the international thriller “Closed Circuit,” a mysterious explosion in a busy London market results in a police swoop. A suspect is detained, and the United Kingdom prepares for one of the most high-profile trials in British history. Two exceptional lawyers — Martin Rose and Claudia Simmons-Howe (played by Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall) — with a romantic history step into a dangerous web of secrets and lies, and when evidence points to a possible British Secret Service cover up, it’s not just their reputations, but their lives that are at stake. Here is what Hall said during a roundtable interview with me and other journalists at the “Closed Circuit” press junket in New York City.
What was going through your mind when you first read the “Closed Circuit” screenplay?
I think nothing because it was so gripping. You just kept getting engaged with it. I think it’s a good indication of something working — if you just want to keep reading it. My mind wandering about what I should make for dinner. I was struck by a couple of things initially.
First, it reminded me of the great conspiracy/paranoia movies that were very prevalent and brilliantly in this country [the United States] in the late ‘60s and ‘70s. And I didn’t think anyone had really done that about London, and I thought that was really exciting. I felt it was a pertinent time.
And the second thing that really struck me about it was that it felt very rooted in the real world, that this was something that was really going on. And, of course, I did a bit of research about it and understood more about closed-court procedures. And that, to me, was a bit eye-opening, really.
With closed-circuit cameras becoming more prevalent in our society and with real-life growing concerns about invasion of privacy, were those real-life issues part of what attracted you to do “Closed Circuit”?
Absolutely. At the time, it actually wasn’t called “Closed Circuit.” It was called “Closed,” because it referred to the court procedures more than it did the spying in the sense of all that stuff, which is a big element of the film. So there were two separate issues that we were talking about, really. I do think it’s important to draw a distinction.
What’s going on in England with secret trials and closed-court procedures is specific to cases related to national security, but now they’ve tried to extend it to civil cases. And that is the topic of discussion at the moment in England.
And then, of course, you have the issues going on here with all the stuff to do with [Edward] Snowden and what the Guardian released about prison, etc. So it [“Closed Circuit”] does feel incredibly topical.
And I do think that it’s a discussion that needs to be had and raised and spoken about. I don’t think it’s all right to say, “Well, if I’ve got nothing to hide, it’s all right for the government to look at everything.”
So I think this film is interesting, in that it looks at people who are very much entrenched in the civil services. It’s people who are working for the government and with the government. And there’s no bad guy, really. And I think [“Closed Circuit”] illustrates very clearly what a complicated area it is to maintain a sense of liberty and free will and all the rights we expect as humans, and also maintain the standard that we want to live and how we want to live and feel safe. And I do think the film talked about that very eloquently.
For more info: “Closed Circuit” website