“The Circle” Is Easily 2017’s Most Disappointing Movie
Adapted from the 2013 novel of the same name, “The Circle” hit theaters this past weekend. Directed by James Ponsoldt, the film revolves around a young woman named Mae (Emma Watson) who starts working at the eponymous social media company, founded by the charismatic Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks). As Mae gradually becomes acquainted with her colleagues and responsibilities, she finds herself questioning the moral standards regarding privacy in the digital age, as well as a possible cover-up by the company. The result here is easily one of the most disappointing movies of the year that drops the ball in almost every way, and may even be the worst film of the year so far.
One of the film’s most noticeable errors is in the direction and editing, both of which never really seem to make up their minds. There’s some interesting ideas brought up by the film regarding the intentions of the company, but the film shies away from this, focusing largely on subplots that Mae is always the center of. The subplots themselves are shoddily paced and edited as well, with long stretches of time placed between them and the main story that aren’t weaved together very well. This all culminates into a climax that occurs just for the sake of ending the film, and doesn’t focus very much on the scenes before and after its “big” ending. Another 15-20 minutes or so could’ve been added to the film to make its ending more effective, but it ends rather abruptly, leaving much to be desired.
Going along with the editing aspect, the film’s tone has some issues as well. The film goes back and forth between attempting to be a comical satire in the same vein as an episode of “Black Mirror,” and attempting to be a conspiracy thriller. The film tries to be the former towards the beginning, but there’s times where scenes are too drawn out to be considered comical, and even comes off as cringy on occasion. When the film makes the transition to the latter, the stakes don’t feel earned, and the result is a “thriller” that doesn’t really have any thrills.
The performances here range from passable to poor. Thankfully, Emma Watson is passable as Mae, and Hanks is good as Eamon (is he ever not?). Unfortunately, most of supporting cast is either wasted, or turns in less than satisfactory performances. The most notorious of which is Ellar Coltrane as Mercer, a friend of Mae’s. He functions as someone who serves as an interesting opposite to the tech revolution going on, but Coltrane comes across as too angsty and overdramatic at times. Karen Gillan stars as Annie, one of Mae’s friends and coworkers. She appears in and out of the movie, and can’t seem to decide on whether or not she wants to do a Scottish or American accent (Watson’s accent is spotty here too, but it’s not as bad as Gillan’s). John Boyega and Patton Oswalt are both present as well, but the film doesn’t really give them much to do, and they feel wasted as a result.
While watching “The Circle,” one can’t help but get the feeling that the original script for the film had a lot of potential. But along the way, some aspects of the film didn’t carry over to the screen, or were carried over awkwardly. Although Watson and Hanks try their hardest with what they’re given, they can’t make up for all the film’s other failures. The result is a film that’s hugely disappointing, and may be one of the worst films of 2017. If it wasn’t clear already, you might wanna skip this film.