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Review: The Circle

The Circle is the latest Netflix Original film (the second of which I have reviewed after Okja). It stars Emma Watson as Mae, who lands a job at a tech company called The Circle which is changing the world. However, is this change for the better or the worse? Is The Circle hiding some deep dark secret?

This film is the definition of boring. It’s boring beyond belief. Nothing happens in this film for most of its run time. If you love board meetings and TED talks then this is the film for you. When you watch the trailer for this film, you are given the impression it’s some kind of conspiracy thriller where Watson and John Boyega uncover the secrets of The Circle. Instead Boyega appears in about five scenes with only a small amount of dialogue. That’s when I realised that this film was probably not the film it was marketed as.

Instead, Watson spends most of the film having conversations with various staff members. However, all anyone talks about are issues which scare us. Do you fear privacy invasions? Check. Do you fear large corporations having control over legislation and our politicians? Check. Do you fear your every move, heartbeat and breath being logged into the Cloud for people to buy and sell as commodities? Check. Rinse and repeat for two hours. After a very brief and silly climax, the film just stops. It didn’t have an ending, it just ceased to be.

The writing is awful as well. Everyone speaks like a stereotype. “Sharing is caring!” is yelled by the employees early on. “OMG Look at her hair” pops up on screen in one of the many instant messaging sequences. It’s inane and annoying. In a interesting, satirical setting, such as Black Mirror or The Social Network, our world and our reliance on technology is examined through intelligent, and exciting ways. The Circle is the lighter version of that. However I can’t see who would sit through this snore-fest to reach the end. Believe me, it was a struggle.

The acting is also unexceptional. I hate to say it, but Emma Watson is not a compelling lead. She never convinces as the plucky, whip-smart, morally ambiguous sort. She’s Emma Watson. Her public persona is so prominent that she simply can’t disappear into the role, and this makes the character dull. Boyega is underused and Karen Gillan tries hard but simply isn’t given enough time to impress. Ellar Coltrane (the kid from Boyhood) shows why he was the weakest part of that film. He is terribly wooden and his character is confused and silly. Even Tom Hanks can’t make a impression and his surfer Steve Jobs is only watchable because of his acting talent. The only person I liked (apart from Gillan) was Bill Paxton. This might be due to my never-ending respect and appreciation of the late Mr Paxton, but he seemed to be really attempting something. His character has MS and he puts in a committed physical performance. However he’s not in it enough either and his MS seems to be forgotten halfway through the film.

If you want my advice, skip this bore. Watch Black Mirror. However, if you have trouble sleeping, watch this. It’ll send you right off!

The Circle is available to watch on Netflix. Image source: MyMovies.com