Feb 282012

It’s a shame Columbus Circle wasn’t better as it has a good cast and, at its core, at least an interesting premise. Although the script does them no favors, I give a pass to the cast as they seem to struggle through stilted dialogue and contrived situations, especially a finale that flies in the face of what we watched before.



Columbus Circle (2012)


The Movie
| Special Features | Video Quality | Audio Quality | Overall


Genre(s): Suspense, Thriller
Universal | PG13 – 86 min. – $26.98 | March 6, 2012

Directed by:
George Gallo
George Gallo and Kevin Pollak
Selma Blair, Amy Smart, Kevin Pollak, Giovanni Ribisi, Beau Bridges, Jason Lee

Number of Discs:

Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
1080p/Widescreen 2.40
English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size:
A, B, C (unconfirmed)

THE MOVIE – 2.75/5

Note: This review does contain spoilers, although a good number of them are revealed half way through so there’s nothing major except for one which I will give an extra warning for…

Columbus Circle is the latest in the line of Hitchock-lite suspense-thrillers that have been released over the years and save for a few plot holes or, at the very least, leaps in logic; it’s not a bad little film. There were a couple things I learned from the movie: 1. upscale apartments have some of the weirdest tenants and 2. Selma Blair is still gorgeous and needs to do more films.

The movie centers on a young woman named Abigail Clayton (SELMA BLAIR), an agoraphobic who has not been outside of her apartment in over a decade. Her childhood was hell with an alcoholic and abusive, but rich, father (he had passed away a few years back). After her parents die, she inherits hundreds of millions of dollars and decides to disappear from society completely, changing her name with the tabloid media still speculating on her whereabouts today. There’s only one person who she trusts (danger Will Robinson, danger!), Ray Fontaine (BEAU BRIDGES), a former partner of her father’s and somebody she counts on for support.

Abigail’s safe little world begins to crumble when her elderly neighbor across the street is murdered and although it’s made to look like an accidental fall down the stairs, Detective Frank Giardello (GIOVANNI RIBISI) believes otherwise. Per standard protocol, he interviews Abigail to find out if she saw or heard anything but the conversation is, at best, one sided as she’s quite uncomfortable with him being in her home.

Meanwhile, even before her neighbor’s body is cold, she inquires about possibly renting that apartment as well so she can have even more comfort without having to deal with new neighbors (note: marrying a sheik, she’s worth into the hundreds of millions). Her letter apparently does nothing to persuade whoever was in charge because two weeks after the incident, a real estate agent is showing young couple Charles Stanford (JASON LEE) and Lillian Hart (AMY SMART) the apartment.

The couple seems nice enough but one night Charles is drunk and starts beating on Lillian. This triggers painful memories for Abigail as she too was abused as a child and finds a connection with Lillian. So, she gets out of her comfort zone and as Lillian is battered and bruised in the hallway, Abigail brings Lillian into her apartment before Charlie can come back to do more abuse.

Not everything is at it seems and about half-way through, the first twist is revealed: the whole abuse situation was just a ruse to get Lillian to befriend Abby. See, they know who she is and are after her vast fortune knowing they can get away with it since Abby doesn’t even really exist and nobody really knows who she is. Their first task is, while Lillian tries to get Abby to overcome her Agoraphobia by taking her into the hallway, Charlie, acting drunk, gets into Abby’s apartment and installs a virus onto her computer that will grab any passwords she enters which would allow them access into her bank account.

Charlie succeeds and Abby is none the wiser, though the incident pushes her back into her emotional turmoil and she kicks Lillian out of her life completely. Now all the couple has to do is be patient and Abby’s fortunes will be theirs. Unfortunately, the building manager named Joseph Klandermann (KEVIN POLLAK) who takes care of any of the tenants needs including getting any supplies for Abby she requests via notes slid under the door. Well, old Klandermann just so happens to know Charlie… from jail and know something’s up. Chaos ensues but will Charlie and Lillian get the money or will Abigail find out just in the nick of time?

Major Spoiler Territory!

Alright, enough with the plot, it’s actually even more simple than I outlined, though there is one more obvious twist not too long after the first twist is revealed. First, the bad for Columbus Circle: there are not so much plot holes bogging down the script but leaps in logic and coincidence. For one, you have the happenstance meeting of Klandermann and Charlie; you have character outright pissing off somebody they know has committed murder by either shutting down the scam or blackmailing them for a piece of the pie never believing he (or she) would kill them; and last, and the most egregious, despite her extreme agoraphobia, within an hour or so, Abigail seems cured enough to not only leave her apartment — remember, she could barely even stand up to get halfway down a hallway — she manages to go on the streets of NYC with no problems whatsoever. What happened? Did she take some strong medication or something? This made no sense and really took an otherwise decent movie down a large notch.

End Spoilers

Plot/character inconsistencies aside, I actually quite enjoyed Columbus Circle, albeit with an 80-minute running time (without credits), it does come across as an episode of “CSI: NY”, just with more perspective on the victim/suspect than the detective work. In any case, it’s a brisk thriller to get through and on that front, I found it at the very least watchable if not in the end a tad forgettable.

With regards to the cast, I’ll give some kudos to Selma Blair who has been mostly MIA tackling smaller projects (like this) and while I can’t say her performance here is anything exceptional it’s hard for me to see her do any better with an overwrought script that I can’t imagine an Oscar-winning actress being able to pull off.

The supporting cast also does well enough (all things considered). Jason Lee and Giovanni Ribisi are sadly underused but I would assume they did this for scale (the pair also served as executive producers) so for their limited parts, Ribisi especially, they were at least effective. Similarly, Kevin Pollak, who co-wrote the screenplay and was a co-producer, gives a good enough performance. For her part, Amy Smart shows off a bit more darker side and I guess well enough for what she was given. She’s set up as a good adversary to Blair and although this is hardly her best performance, she provides the right amount of presence to pull off the limited role.

Co-written and directed by George Gallo (Middle Men), Columbus Circle should’ve and could’ve been so much better and while the screenplay does fail big time in terms of logic and wasting the talents of an otherwise talented cast, I have to admit that it’s at least an enjoyable film to watch on a slow Saturday afternoon. Despite its flaws, I’d give this a soft rental recommendation, but even then keep your expectations in check).


Unfortunately, other than some previews (Rosewood Lane, Cat Run, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Killer Elite), no features were included…

VIDEO – 3.75/5

Universal Studios Home Entertainment releases Columbus Circle on Blu-ray with a good looking 1080p high-def transfer. The movie is presented with a 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and although I’d hardly call it eye-popping brilliant, it’s still well detailed with good black levels throughout. The color array is also well balanced without looking oversaturated.

AUDIO – 4.0/5

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is OK with some heavy bass through the generic thriller opening credits otherwise the rest of the movie is mainly dialogue driven which makes more use of the center channel than any of the others. There is some ambient noise, including yelling and screaming, that occurs off-screen that comes through the front and rear speakers, however.

OVERALL – 2.25/5

Overall, it’s a shame Columbus Circle wasn’t better as it has a good cast and, at its core, at least an interesting premise. Although the script does them no favors, I give a pass to the cast as they seem to struggle through stilted dialogue and contrived situations, especially a finale that flies in the face of what we watched before. Even so, I found this to be passable entertainment and enough for a quick watch on a weekend where there’s nothing else on.


The Movieman

  11 Responses to “Columbus Circle Blu-ray Review”

Comments (11)
  1. ** SPOILER ALERT **
    i recently watched this movie and thought that abigail wasnt really abigail but another poser who got the money and robbed original abigail’s identity. if not then im staying with my ending its more fun 😀

  2. I completely agree with zxczxczxczx. I thought Abigail had assumed the identity of the real abigail. At the end of the movie, when she was in the cab, she had decided to assume the identity of Lillian. I loved the movie especially the twist at the end that I didn’t see coming. That’s my thought anyway 🙂

  3. I have to agree with LisaJo & zxczxczxczx noted comments above –
    1. Agoraphobics do not mysteriously cure in 1 session walk into the hallway.
    2. To me it was apparent that Abigail assumed the identity of the real Abigail – a person who does that assumes that identity by studying them – or some how have complete intimate knowledge of that person’s life. (remember the tabloid video – girl playing w/ Hulahoop? it turns out to be the password she uses for her bank account.)
    3. why does Abigail give an assumed name in the taxi – leaving her city w/ no luggage and no less to fly on a plane? True agoraphobics do not suddenly want to jump on a plane !!

    of course I can see the other side of this film where abigail is truly abigail – however, going back to point #1 – it just doesn’t coincide.

  4. i like this theory you guys but my question is then why doesn’t the doctor guy know about it? he said he has been helping her for a huge portion of her life… unless he does know about it & that’s why he is trying to get the money away from her?

  5. How does Abby stop the bank from giving the money to Lillian and how does she get it herself?

  6. comment on how Abby stops Lillian from getting the money in the bank and how does Abby get it herself?

  7. It’s been so long since I’ve even seen the movie, but hopefully someone else can help. However, IIRC, I think she stole Lillian’s identity or something? Like I said, it’s been some time since watching the movie (and it was only once at that).

  8. Why was the heiress wanted and arrested? Anyway

  9. To be honest I didn’t get the movie at all but, I have to say that Selma Blair played that role well that really dope son another thing can somebody please tell why was Lillian wearing a black wig like Abigail

  10. Lena W re thhe bank, my guess was that once the heiress realized about the bullet/gun being a con. She transfered it to another acc before Lillian was able to withdraw it.

  11. The movie is crazy Abigail real name was Justine Waters she just changed her name Abigail for her own saftey but she most definantly did take Lillian identity after she had her arrested because she knew that Lillian would be put away for long time and she can afford to leave with no baggage she has that type of money

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