The Circle (2017) ★★☆☆☆
Humpo Show Rating | 5.0
IMDb Rating | 5.4
Starring: Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, Ellar Coltrane, Karen Gillan, John Boyega
Director: James Ponsoldt
Plot Summary: A woman lands a dream job at a powerful tech company called the Circle, only to uncover an agenda that will affect the lives of all of humanity. (IMDb)
Mae (Emma Watson) is working a boring job when her friend manages to get her an interview at the world’s largest and most powerful tech and social media company- she nails the interview and is then hired. She sees it as an opportunity of a lifetime, and as she shows signs of her ability and personality she is encouraged by the company’s founder, Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks), to engage in a groundbreaking experiment that pushes the boundaries of privacy, ethics and ultimately her personal freedom. Her participation in the experiment, and every decision she makes begin to affect the lives and future of her friends, family and that of humanity.
On paper this film ticks so many boxes for me: my no.1 crush Emma Watson is the main protagonist, the legend that is Tom Hanks and the new Star Wars star John Boyega, both in supporting roles, in what it described as a topical dystopian film. However, not only does it fail to live up to expectation, but it is down right bad!
The Circle focuses on a tech company, an amalgamation of Google, Apple etc, in the not too distant future where the company aims to be involved in everyone’s lives as much as possible, for all manner of reasons. This cautionary tale provides the platform to discuss the dangers of a life consumed by an over-reliance on one’s digital footprint, a topic that remains ever prescient. This innovative corporation aims to further blur the lines between our private and public lives, and that subject should have made for thrilling viewing, but as a thriller, there’s a crushing lack of suspense. One particular car crash proves mildly exciting, but there’s a sense of forced peril to increase the heart rate, such as a silly midnight kayaking scene.
The film is filled with intriguing questions about the balance of our social and professional lives and how they intermingle, and whether, with increased surveillance and the knowledge that we’re being watched, our behaviour would gradually improve. However, The Circle is a vapid film that fails to live up to a promising premise, the poor use of the star-studded cast (Boyega may as well have been a ghost), and the somewhat anti-climactic finale.