Closed Circuit Review
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This time of year isn’t exactly an exciting time for movies. Mostly, it’s a time for thrillers that aren’t especially thrilling and comedies that aren’t really funny. So it’s no big surprise that director John Crowley’s Closed Circuit doesn’t exactly make for a memorable movie-going experience.

Closed Circuit stars Eric Bana as Martin Rose, a successful attorney who’s assigned to The Trial of the Century after the original defense attorney commits suicide. The defendant is accused of masterminding a terrorist attack on a crowded London market—so something about his weak defense seems odd, causing Martin to dig for more answers.

Special Advocate Claudia Simmons-Howe (Rebecca Hall), meanwhile, has been brought on to the defense team to handle matters of national security. Martin and Claudia have a troubled history, but when Martin begins to believe that their lives are both in danger, he breaks the rules to warn her.

  
 
Closed Circuit is just the kind of movie that you can expect to see at this time of year. Had it come out at the height of Summer Blockbuster Season, it would have starred a couple of Hollywood’s hottest stars—and it would have focused on the action, with high-speed chases and expensive explosions to keep summer audiences entertained. Had it come out later in the year, during Award Season, it would have starred a pair of Oscar favorites in highly dramatic roles. But, as it is, it features a couple of likable workhorse actors in an interesting but largely forgettable story of minimal action and boilerplate intrigue.

The story does have its share of mystery and suspense, as Bana’s Martin discovers some disturbing things about both his client and the case. But the most interesting parts of the story tend to get lost in a bunch of confusing legal details and unnecessary romantic tension. So much time is spent explaining how things work and why that it takes away from the action. And there’s really no reason for the characters’ history—other than to distract the audience away from a rather run-of-the-mill plot.

Perhaps the most perplexing flaw, however, is the film’s title. Though closed circuit camera footage is used from time to time, it’s mostly just a filmmaking gimmick. Apart from a couple of scenes, it has little or no bearing on the action—though it might have made the film a lot more interesting if it had.

In the end, there just aren’t any surprises here. The story—and its outcome—are vaguely familiar, and it lacks either the big-budget action or the moving performances to make it stand out in the crowd. If you’re just looking for a cinematic escape, you can do worse—but it’ll be all but forgotten by the morning after.


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