Wednesday, May 10, 2017
3 Thoughts on The Circle
1. What's the point, exactly? - I honestly have no idea. I keep thinking about the movie; thinking that maybe I missed something. Maybe it's not dumb, maybe it's just so intelligent that it went right over my head??? Because, to me, it felt like it was trying to be intelligent, and almost condescending, but it's not. If it were made in the 90s, then some of the ideas would be downright scary. But now? Everything the movie tells us about technology is....um...obvious. And all of it has been done before - from The Truman Show, to every conspiracy "the government is watching you" movie (there are literally dozens, but I'll choose Conspiracy Theory for this example), to reality TV shows like The Real World. Yes, all of these examples are from the 90s because that's when this movie felt like it took place. I was waiting for this movie to tell me something new, to have a point. It doesn't. Yes, constant surveillance could prevent crimes and yes, constant surveillance could also cause catastrophic events. That's not new information - that's just information. And it's the reason that it's such a controversial issue. The "big" scene in which her friend is killed by civilians trying to film him and "capture" him, was just about the most obvious scene in the movie. Was that supposed to be a lesson? Because I think we already learned that in real life with Princess Diana.
2. Forgotten plots or poor editing? - There are so many little interesting points to the film that are just suddenly dropped. It's almost jarring. The biggest example is with Mae's friend - the person that helps her secure this seemingly wonderful job, but more important health insurance for her ill father (now, THIS would have been a timely storyline to pursue, but it's dropped). This friend is one of the higher-ups in the company, and inexplicably lets Mae into a restricted area (something that happens way too often - oh hey new girl come see this cool restricted stuff!). She is obviously caught (um bc there are cameras everywhere duh...and this is the reason the entire end of the movie DOES NOT WORK), but when Mae is confronted and admits that she had been in the restricted area - the plot is dropped. Her friend should have been fired - wouldn't that have caused a more dramatic effect??? Instead the next time we see Mae's friend, she is looking pale and ill from working too hard (are we just to assume that maybe they are overworking her on purpose as a punishment? That would at least make it better) and then suddenly she is back home resting in Scotland. Um...ok...what's the point? Also, are we really supposed to believe that Mae, this "nobody" girl, is the catalyst for this gigantic corporation to consider making The Circle mandatory? I thought that maybe "the bad guys" had planned it to make it look like she came up with it (planting the idea in her head) so that the "public" wouldn't fear it as much, but that's never really clear. Anyway, those are just 2 examples of plot-points gone awry, but the movie is filled with at least 5 more.
3. Can Emma Watson act? - I'm certainly not convinced by this movie. She was awful in the Harry Potter movies (to be fair, so was everyone), but she was young. This is a big "adult" role for her; No-one else in the movie really has much to do, so it all falls squarely on her shoulders and she is terrible. She is adorable, I'll give her that. However, she is not able to convey any king of emotional resonance. Tom Hanks is featured waaaay too much in the trailer considering he is a very minor role (important, yes, but barely in it). And this was a terrible role for such a strong up-and-comer actor like John Boyega. He barely had any lines (or personality). I think this is due to the terrible editing as mentioned above, but I feel like this is a crucial movie for him (to get his name out there aside from the Star Wars universe) and it's almost embarrassingly bad. The "saviors" of the film (acting-wise) were Karen Gillan and Bill Paxton. Gillan's been good and bad in the past, but she excels here. Every scene she was in, my eyes were glued to the scene. I wish her plot wasn't edited so terribly, but that's not on her. Did the creators purposely downplay the fact that Paxton is in this (and that it's his last film role)? I had NO IDEA. And I understand why. He plays Watson's father, who suffers from MS, and it is deeply sad to watch. Obviously, the role, itself, is sad, but it's also devastating to be reminded of Paxton's endless talent. I think he always got credited as the "everyman" character in big-budget action movies, but I will remember him most for his more complicated, emotional roles - like Big Love. He will be missed.