Hello! So sorry for the lack of posts the past few days. Sometimes life does get in the way of pleasure, which means that sometimes we can’t update as much as we’d like. But do not fret, as today we’re back with another film review. This time, we are going to talk about The Circle starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks. It hasn’t received the best reviews, currently scoring 16% on Rotten Tomatoes. However, that has never stopped me before. I wanted to know if the Circle was really as bad as critics say.
What is the Circle about?
The film is based on a novel of the same name. The story is about Mae Holland, a recent graduate who lands a job at The Circle, a very powerful technology company. She starts out in Customer Experience, but quickly climbs the company ladder. Mae is impressed by the company and all its lavish parties and facilities. However, after a row with her friend from home, she gets upset and steals a kayak at night. When she almost drowns, she is saved thanks to the cameras put up by The Circle. Mae agrees to wear a camera at all times after this, going ‘transparent’. Her life is constantly online, viewed by millions, but then she discovers some dark secrets.
Is it a good film?
The premise of the film is a very good one. It kind of feels like Big Brother is Watching You, which is not really an outrageous idea. We are on our phones constantly. Everything you do in public can be filmed and broadcast to the rest of the world. Our lives in the digital era have made us blind to the possible dangers technology poses to our privacy. It is an interesting concept and should make an interesting film, except it doesn’t.
There are too many plot holes that do not make sense. It feels like the creators had a million different ideas, but somehow could not put them all together in order to make a logical film. The use of montages which add nothing to the story is confusing at times. The fact that the characters are not well-developed doesn’t make sense either. Mae’s best friend Annie becomes depressed, disappears, and she is suddenly in Scotland. The only explanation we get is that she worked too hard and got into drugs. Okay then.
We never find out why the founders want to create a totalitarian regime, except for money and power. But how did they come to that point? I have no idea. Mae’s sudden transition into believing she is the only one who can take down the Circle is also a bit strange. And why did they not use John Boyega more? He is awesome and they could have done so much more with the character.
“Let me show you something”
The film never becomes truly dark and scary. In fact, there is no climax at all. It is not as thought-provoking as it would like to be. I haven’t read the book yet, but for the sake of this review, I read a summary and from what I can tell, the book is much darker than the film. Also, the ending is a far stray from the ending of the book, which would have been more shocking. The ending of the film feels like it was forcibly a happy one. We just have to stand up to the big guys.
One thing that I did find annoying was the amount of showing that happened in this film. While in novels, they always say that you should show instead of tell, they kind of took it to literally in this film. Mae is shown a lot of things, things she is not allowed to see, and has to swear she will never tell anyone about. Naturally, she is such a good person that she doesn’t. In reality, it is just to show us viewers what we need to know, without actually adding anything to the plot.
“Oh this is an underground station they started but they abandoned it.”
Ok, why did they create an underground station in the first place?
“This is where all future data will be stored. But don’t tell anyone, pinky swear! Okay let’s go.”
BUT I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS.
*Underground Station is never touched upon again, except as a place where plans are plotted*.
And let’s be honest, this company has cameras everywhere. The underground station needed special authorisation with fingerprint technology to enter. Why were there no cameras there? They wanted to know everything, right? Well nobody cares about all that sensitive data. Give me a break.
Is it all so bad?
This film’s only saving grace is Tom Hanks, who is a fantastic actor. He has that calm and reassuring presence that is perfect for the part. If Tom Hanks came in and told me not to worry, but he was going to chop me up into pieces, I would totally be okay with it*. He was a delight to watch, even though the film itself was a bit of a mess.
While I love Emma Watson, her performance was okay in this film. She does not quite ace the American accent yet, and her American and British accents mix at times. It is not problematic, but something she should work on. It is also quite hard to bring depth to a depthless character and she does the best she can. While Beauty and the Beast showed that she is very capable of carrying a whole film, The Circle is not a prime example of that.
The Circle certainly has its good moments but unfortunately these moments are too rare to save the film.