Jul 262017

The Circle had plenty of potential but it’s for naught with not-so-subtle lines of dialogue combined with an uneven/unfocused story, with unintentionally funny scenes, that never worked and probably would’ve been better served as dark satire.



The Circle

Genre(s): Suspense/Thriller, Drama
Lionsgate | PG13 – 110 min. – $39.99 | August 1, 2017

Date Published: 07/26/2017 | Author: The Movieman


Directed by: James Ponsoldt
Writer(s): Dave Eggers (novel); James Ponsoldt and Dave Eggers (screenplay)
Cast: Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Karen Gillan, Ellar Coltrane, Patton Oswalt, Glenne Headly, Bill Paxton
Features: Featurettes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray, DVD
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 44.2 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A


THE MOVIE — 1.5/5

“Secrets are lies.” The Circle. An overwrought movie that takes itself far too seriously and squanders an opportunity to present an important topic.

Mae Holland (EMMA WATSON) is your typical post-college 20-something working temp and dead-end jobs, has a junker of a car and has a social life… online. When best friend Annie (KAREN GILLAN) gets her an interview for a prestigious job at technological giant The Circle, she is beyond overjoyed and eventually aces the interview.

Her start at The Circle begin smoothly enough, though we see some of the more creepy aspects to this company — like attending non-mandatory company activities and the development of tiny spy cameras placed around the world (and inside the company) — but with its charismatic CEO, Eamon Bailey (TOM HANKS), it strives for bigger and bigger ideas, some rather scary, and the naïve Mae is rightfully leery. She, however, does grab the attention of Ty Gospodinov (JOHN BOYEGA) whom she had no idea created The Circle’s program, TruYou which links all user’s info into one device.

Mae’s skepticism turns to buying in with The Circle especially after they provide full coverage to her ailing parents, including her father (the late BILL PAXTON) suffering from multiple-scoliosis, and her mother (the late GLENNE HEADLY) who spends her time taking care of him. She even agrees to full openness, wearing the aforementioned cameras almost 24/7 (she does get 3-minutes in the bathroom) with the ability to communicate with watchers and in turn, the watchers get to experience her life. Heck, even her parents’ home is equipped with cameras, with their permission; she becomes an overnight star.

Of course, in spite of the bright red flags, including the whole idea of privacy and secrets being mutually exclusive, Mae couldn’t foresee the consequences and after a tragedy, her opinion on the Circle and its charismatic CEO changes and decides to take action.

Sigh. I really didn’t care for The Circle for many reasons. One, the performances were not anything noteworthy with Emma Watson making her usual expressions (really, no difference between Mae and Belle); Tom Hanks is charismatic enough but is hardly an effective antagonist and comparably, Tim Robbins was far better in Anti-Trust (which in itself was a bad movie that also took itself too seriously at times); Karen Gillian, talented as she may be, doesn’t have a whole lot to do; and John Boyega is hardly in this, having a total of maybe 10-minutes of screen time.

Beyond the acting, though, the screenplay was terrible. Although the script was co-written by Dave Eggers, whose novel the movie is based upon, it takes itself so seriously and doesn’t apparently know the term subtlety, that it becomes absurd even when the core aspects are important (like privacy, information, corporation run amuck, etc). In fact, the film would’ve worked far better as dark satire. Instead they bang you over the head with a half-hearted message.

There was plenty of potential. Unfulfilled potential given a generation that don’t seem to have the same concerns over their privacy, what is shared online and a thin line between corporation and government, the latter every so lightly touched upon with a sub plot of the company setting up an uncooperative United States Senator and having a state senator being open allowing all her e-mails to be public and stored on campus.

The Circle is an all around poorly made flick that had the opportunity to tell an interesting story but instead gave us less-than-subtle lines of dialogue, a bad script (can’t comment on the novel) and some, at best, average performances including those of the late Bill Paxton and Glenne Headly.



This release comes with a (slightly) title-embossed slip cover.

No More Secrets: Completing The Circle (30:56; HD) is a 4-part making-of featurette providing background on the movie from source material, casting, and story where we hear from cast and crew (including Watson, Hanks, Ponsoldt, etc). This is a bit more extensive than I expected.

The Future Won’t Wait: Design & Technology (10:55; HD) looks at the visual effects work done from the title design to the tech.

A True Original: Remembering Bill Paxton (13:53; HD) is, of course, a tribute to the great actor who passed away early this year. Well done and Tom Hanks’ talking about his former Apollo 13 co-star was the most fascinating.

PreviewsValerian, Nerve


VIDEO – 4.5/5

Presented in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and given a 1080p high-definition transfer (MPEG-4 AVC codec), The Circle looks pretty good. Colors are generally bright even during the darker shots but still dark levels never betrayed the sharp and nicely defined detail either. There were no apparent flaws like artifacts, aliasing, banding, etc.

AUDIO – 4.0/5

Generally speaking, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is basic but more than effective. The bulk of the film is either quieter moments filled with Danny Elfman’s ho-hum score or strictly dialogue-driven. But beyond that, there are a couple of scenes that will give your sound system a slight workout, but it’s not going to strain anything. This is a fine lossless track that won’t shake the floor or rattle windows, but decent enough.


OVERALL – 2.25/5

Overall, The Circle had plenty of potential but it’s for naught with not-so-subtle lines of dialogue combined with an uneven/unfocused story, with unintentionally funny scenes, that never worked and probably would’ve been better served as dark satire than anything serious. The Blu-ray released by Lionsgate offers good video and audio transfers and a okay selection of bonus features.





Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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