“The Circle” is another example of a fine cast and an intriguing premise that quickly makes its interest and potential go south and its confusion north.
It stars Emma Watson as Mae Holland, a new employee at a worldwide Internet company known as The Circle. It’s a corporation somewhat akin to the Big Brother concept: Everyone there knows anything and everything about her activities. Tom Hanks costars as the head of The Circle.
Once she joins The Circle, Holland moves up the ranks very fast with some of the ideas she brings and Hanks’ character decides to make her “transparent,” meaning that all of her activities and whereabouts will be made known 24/7. His hope is to prove that constant surveillance is proof that being watched round the clock is good.
Another subplot involves Mae’s parents financial situation with her dad (the late Bill Paxton in his final film) having MS and The Circle wants to step in and pay for his care.
John Boyega from “The Force Awakens” is a fellow employee who befriends Holland, but he starts growing suspicious about the company and believes that a sinister conspiracy is at work. Chances are, he won’t be winning employee of the month.
Based on a best-selling novel, “The Circle” loses interest quickly by having monotonous performances and pacing, and condescending with its preachy message about invasion of privacy. Nor is there any real sense of tension or jeopardy. Instead of making a thriller with some genuine spark to match its premise, it chooses to retreat to formula.
This movie never made me fear the future of technology; only copycat films like this one. “The Circle” does nothing more than run in circles.
Rated PG-13 for a sexual situation, brief strong language and some thematic elements including drug use.
Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.