Sunday, February 7, 2016

Movie review: Circle

Fifty strangers awaken in a strange room and quickly realize they are being executed one by one. Struggling to understand what is happening and survive they finally realize there is only one thing they can do; choose one person to survive.

Julie Benz (Wife), Mercy Malick (Lesbian), Carter Jenkins (College guy), Molly Jackson (Little girl), Michael Nardelli (Eric), Lisa Pelikan (Cancer woman), Cesar Garcia (Tattooed man), Kevin Sheridan (Man 1), Lawrence Kao (Asian kid), Kaiwi Lyman (Bearded man).

Circle begins with no explanation as 50 strangers awaken in a room. As they begin to be killed off one by one, there is still no explanation. Struggling to understand their situation and survive the group begins theorizing and testing their situation. The result is amazing as the group mentality shifts from defensiveness to self-preservation to sacrifice and even strategy. Along the way we learn more about the strangers which does engage the audience with the film however their personal history is much less entertaining than their reaction to the situation. The film finally wraps up with an ending that, although slightly dismissive of the previous 80 minutes, adds an additional level to the film by creating even more questions.

Acting was pretty good by just about everyone, with nice deflection and misdirection by many. Jenkins did nicely in an antagonistic role, as did many others including those who moved between protagonist and antagonist. The quick shifts between characters makes it difficult to single anyone out so suffice to say, acting was generally enjoyable.

Camera work was good with nice framing of the group, which didn't move at all, and helped convey the size of the group and their situation. Sets and backgrounds were fairly simplistic with a static set and a lot of darkness hiding the background. That said, they fit the film perfectly. Dialogue was the meat of this film and it was managed, and delivered, very well. Sound and soundtrack were clean and simple.

The Circle is a film that is unusual enough it is difficult to describe. Those who can embrace the possibility of the situation while engaging in the intellectual thought it stimulates should enjoy this one. Those who are unable to accept the situation will likely feel the film is pointless and not worth watching. Which one will you be?

With some foul language, this should be fine for teens and above.

Released: 2015
Reviewed: 1.20.16
Star rating: 4 out of 5
Genre: Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi, Sci-Fi Horror, Independent Drama

copyright ©2016 Dave Riedel

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