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Closed Circuit (2013)

Review by-Jarrett Leahy

A devastating terror attack in a busy London marketplace leads to the swift apprehension of the suspected mastermind Farroukh Erdogan, while two other suspected co-conspirators are killed during the attempt to apprehend them.  Due to the sensitive nature of the case, the trial is split into two sections, a closed door segment for discussions about highly classified documents and an open trial where Farroukh will be defended for his alleged crimes. When the original defense attorney has an unfortunate accident, the Attorney General assigns Martin Rose (Bana) to take over the defense of open trial while Claudia Simmons-Howe (Hall) is chosen to represent the defense during the closed door sessions. As the two begin to dig deeper into the background of their client, they quickly realize things aren’t as they seem, and the death of the previous defense attorney may not have been so accidental.

Despite every attempt to create tension and suspense, in the end Closed Circuit just felt a bit flat.  The trailer for the film not only breaks the cardinal rule by spoiling the big surprise twist, but also wrongfully sold the film as a frightening examination about how everyone is now under surveillance in today’s modern society.  Instead the film just spins its wheels with muddled denunciations about the dangers of unchecked big government. The MI5 aspects of the story seemed to add more plot holes than tie up storylines.  How can such a powerful, clandestine organization let a guarded witness escape so easily? And if the final decision that was made was an option all along, why didn’t they just execute it a lot sooner?

Another of the film’s missteps came in the miscasting of the two leads, Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall. While both of these actors have given commendable performances in previous films, they’ve been most successful when cast in solid secondary roles with strong leads to play off of.  In Closed Circuit the two, who are supposed to ex-lovers, exhibit a complete lack of on-screen chemistry.  Even worse, they weren’t able to capably convey the confusion, terror, and emotional distress their roles necessitated.  Perhaps one or the other could have worked, but together they just don’t succeed.

What started out with such an attention grabbing bang fizzles out by the end, hampered by sloppy storylines, subpar performances, and an anti-climactic ending. Overall, Closed Circuit is a throwaway thriller that most will forget about soon after the credits finish rolling.-JL

Grade: C

Edited by-Michelle Zenor

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