The Circle (2017) – Thriller Movie Review – HOLLYWOOD LIBERALS EDIT FILM?

 

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By Melissa Antoinette Garza

 

I typically adore suspense flicks about conspiracies.  CAPRICORN ONE (1977), THE V (1984), THEY LIVE (1988), ANTITRUST (2001), THE CONSPIRACY (2012), THE FIRM (1993) and THE SKULLS (2000) are all movies I suggest quite often (some more than others).  Still, all of those mentioned told an entertaining and solid story regarding an engineered plot by a diabolical force.

The first act of THE CIRCLE reminds me of a modern ANTITRUST.  Bailey (Tom Hanks) owns an enormous company obviously modeled after Google.  Bailey even coins the term CIRCLERS for his workers, much like employees of Google are called Googlers.

The production begins when Mae (Emma Watson) obtains her dream job at CIRCLE.  Her good friend Annie (Karen Gillan) gets her in.  At first, Annie is ecstatic to have her friend there, but as Mae moves up in the tech company, Annie begins to slowly go insane.  It isn’t out of jealousy but rather the complete surveillance Bailey does on his employees.

Mae becomes so involved that she not only gives speeches encouraging others to engage in their positions with the company, she opts to go “fully transparent”.   To become full transparent Mae is recorded at all times, with the exception of 3 minute intervals allotted for bathroom breaks.

Here is where things get weird.  There are ramifications to her constant filming, but then the tone shifts.  It’s as though the first half of the movie was written by someone concerned about Google’s monopoly.  Though there was a lot of filler, the point seemed to be that over-surveillance was wrong and that things like Google maps is crazy.  It looked as though it was trying to be a commentary against the dangers of the internet, social media and millennials need to document every moment of their lives.  The transparency embarrasses her parents, drives two of her friends over the edge and though Bailey is barely in the film, it’s apparent that he’s the enemy.

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Then, Mae completely changes and decides everyone should be 100% transparent and she enjoys having drones follow her and watch her every move.  It’s so odd.  Bailey and his right-hand-man Stenton (Patton Oswalt) as she embarrasses them into full transparency as well, but there’s no real closure.

After watching it, I was just dumbfounded.  It made zero sense. In ANTITRUST, it was obvious that Tim Robbins character Gary Winston was modeled after Bill Gates.  Robbins nailed the role and by the end of the movie everyone hated him and cheered his downfall.

In THE CIRCLE, Hanks is great in portraying Bailey, but he’s not in the film nearly enough.  When he is on screen, he’s generally on stage acting like Steve Jobs, presumably because Google’s C.E.O. doesn’t put on tech talks quite like Jobs did.

The issue with THE CIRCLE is that it lacks clarity, depth and a message.  An intelligent production could weigh the pros and cons of giving up freedom for security, but that’s not what this is about.  It’s really not about anything.

I’d like to see the original draft of this screenplay because I wonder if certain plot points were removed or modified due to controversy or because Google played a censorship card and had it changed.

I wanted to be able to suggest this film.  Two great actors who I absolutely adore passed away after this film.  Bill Paxton and Glenne Headley portrayed Mae’s parents.  They weren’t in the film much, but they did a great job, as always.

In fact, everyone in it was a great actor. Karen Gillan, who starred in both the legendary sci-fi hit DOCTOR WHO and the grossly underrated OCULUS (2013), was wonderful as Annie.  If her descent into madness and the causes were delved into more, the audience would have been far more invested in the character and far more critical of the company.

Emma Watson was fantastic too.  She just wasn’t given anything to work with.  I wanted a dramatic scene where Mae stood up to Bailey and exposed the insanity to the entire workforce.  I wanted her to call out their practices and expectations as the cult-like behavior it was; but I wonder if the alt-left demanded a softer approach.

I just watched this movie so the wrongful firing of Google-tech James Damore was fresh in my mind.  For anyone living under a rock, Damore penned an email to the workforce suggesting that biological differences between genders may have an impact in desire and capability within the tech field.  It wasn’t sexist or critical of women, but the mainstream media acted as though Damore told a woman to go make him a ham sandwich, like Cenk Uyger of THE YOUNG TURKS told Karen Straughan.  Funny that Cenk was never called out by the MSM for his abhorrant and insulting behavior, but Damore is publicly shamed and fired over an email where he was trying to help the company he works for.

We live in crazy times and I think that THE CIRCLE was trying to express the level of power that the media, internet and monopoly companies have over society, but they failed in their presentation.  It ends up being an empty waste of time that I wonder if there are any deleted scenes or alternate endings that add any substance or insight.

I suggest watching ANTITRUST again instead.

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Scared Stiff Rating:  4/10