Closed Circuit

With the release of The Company You Keep, Arbitrage and The East, 2012 seemed to herald a return to intelligent political thrillers made for adults, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the genre’s heyday in 1970s. In the afterglow of these smart American movies, I was excited to see Closed Circuit, a British film about an act of domestic terrorism and the lawyers appointed to represent the accused bomber. Jim Broadbent plays the Attorney General who assembles the team for this high-profile case, and he must have the same deal Michael Caine had in the '80s, wherein no British film can be released in America unless he appears in it. His defense team includes Eric Bana, the thinking man’s action hero, from Munich and Black Hawk Down, and Rebecca Hall, the versatile star of Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Town and Please Give. Bana and Hall play former lovers whose history forms the film's central conflict. There are countless films in which a couple with a troubled past must work together in a professional capacity, and a very fine line exists between the fraught, emotionally involving tension created when this dynamic is rendered subtly and the cliché ridden reparteé that results when it’s forced.  Bana and Hall do their best to deliver performances worthy of a better film, but Closed Circuit doesn't trust us to follow its storyline or intuit its characters' feelings. Every clever idea is followed by an explanatory speech or a rant to make sure everyone in the audience knows what this movie is trying to say about government corruption. And for a film whose title suggests and abundance of security camera’s employed as a narrative device, there is curiously little exploration of the hot-button issue of government surveillance. All these factors add up to the frustrating feeling that this movie is underdeveloped. We need smart political thrillers now at least as much as we did in the 1970s, and arguably even more. Films like Closed Circuit are a missed opportunity.

Directed by John Crowley
Produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, and Chris Clark

Written by Steven Knight

With: Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall, Jim Broadbent, Ciarán Hinds, Riz Ahmed, Julia Stiles, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Kenneth Cranham, Barbora Bobulová, Jemma Powell, Doug Allen, Anne-Marie Duff, and John Humphrys

Cinematography: Adriano Goldman
Editing: Lucia Zucchetti
Music: Joby Talbot

Runtime: 96 min
Release Date: 28 August 2013
Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1