by Sian Latham
Circle is simple in its setting: one room, 50 people and dim lighting. This movie is not reliant upon dramatic action sequences, or flashy graphics or even complex character background stories. The beauty of the move is in its simplicity. The premise is such that these 50 people are in a room, trapped within a system which results in the death of a member of the group every two minutes.
The Twist? That the person who dies is chosen by the group, a democratic voting system with the purpose of murder. The film questions what it means to be human, what our morals and ethics really mean when we are facing imminent death. What do we value? What would we do?
The film is not a light-hearted, fluffy, pink affair. It is challenging at times, dramatic and scarily intrusive. You find yourself highlighting who you would kill off, which characteristics you value, not realising that it in many ways you are playing the game as well.
It appears that many, if not all, major strands of humanity end up in this kaleidoscopic group. Though the American origin of the film is evident in the groups and issue raised at times. We have moments at which the value of race is questioned, career, relationship, status, sexual preferences, gender and age. If you are old, is your life worth less than the young? Female more precious than male? Gay more sinful than straight? All these questions are thrust upon the viewer and the participants within the space of an hour and a half: not all are easy to determine.
That storyline is creative, jerking from one angle of human reaction to another, forever using relationships and views to guide the interactions and plotline of the film. In other words, it remains unpredictable to the final scenes. In terms of the acting, I found no fault with any example within the film. They all played their parts in a compelling and believable fashion. Not once did I find myself chuckle at a half-choked/forced sob or frown at a clear portrayal of false anger.
No. I was drawn in and hooked from the first few minutes to the last. This is perhaps one of the best films I have seen this year and certainly a nice breath of fresh air after the repetitive cycle that the high-end budget films have become part of recently. A refreshing and challenging watch. Enjoy.