It would appear that the crime thriller genre has suffered something of a decline in recent years. Stories about conspiracies, international intrigue and paranoia just don’t seem to pack the punch and sustain audiences’ attentions the way they used to. A new entry into this genre Closed Circuit tries to rejuvenate the dying genre but the results are pretty lame. The film tries to be slick, cool and interesting but it just fails miserably.
Martin Rose (Eric Bana) is a lawyer in London who must team up with fellow lawyer and former love interest Claudia Simmons-Howe (Rebecca Hall). The two join forces when a terrorist bomb attack rips through a market place in London. During the course of the trial, they are surveilled by MI5 so that they don’t leak any information to the public and what have you.
There is nothing interesting about Closed Circuit. It is a film with no point and a poor script. Leading actor Eric Bana (Troy, Hulk) does however manage to squeeze some hope out of the proceedings. He is a ruggedly good looking guy who keeps things somewhat interesting. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about Rebecca Hall (The Town, Vicky Cristina Barcelona) who is attractive, yes but little else. How the hell did this woman get into movies?
The London setting is intriguing and it is a pretty good environment for Bana and Hall’s running away from bad guys. Closed Circuit feels like a James Bond film but with no James Bond. I guess Bana can be a Bond substitute but with a boring script by Steven Knight (Eastern Promises, Dirty Pretty Things), even Bana’s macho starpower can’t improve this dismal film.
Irish director John Crowley (Is Anybody There?, Boy A) does his best here but it sadly falls short. The quick cuts and frantic action sequences are reminiscent of the Jason Bourne films but they don’t really maintain interest and spark curiosity. Perhaps, Mr. Crowley will find success in the future but Closed Circuit is just downright uninteresting.
Eric Bana is the highlight of the film. This is a fact. The man has a commanding presence and he simply keeps things moving. It’s a bit difficult to believe him as a lawyer but then again, it was difficult believing him as The Hulk’s alter-ego Bruce Banner. Poorly chosen roles aside, Mr. Bana is an intriguing actor and he is committed to all of the roles he plays no matter how mismatched they are for him
Rebecca Hall is another mystery. She is a beautiful, that’s for sure but she is not a good actress. She is not likable and she simply can’t act her way out of a paper bag. She should have just become a model because whenever she opens her mouth, things just fall apart. She probably did her best in Closed Circuit but it just wasn’t good enough.
The plot of Closed Circuit is probably the most disappointing aspect of the film. A legal action thriller that John Grisham could have wrote on toilet paper. There is an espionage element that seems very forced and the romance between the two leads is cliche and dumb. This is a film that will eventually make its way to late night cable TV. Hopefully, the cast and crew will move on to better things, and by “better”, I mean “anything else”. Director Crowley shows promise here. It’s just the fact that a poor script prevented him from shooting a better movie. Rebecca Hall, while beautiful, she doesn’t exhibit any signs of acting talent but then again, she might surprise us in the future. Bana showed the most promise and he has the makings of a talented action hero. A lot of things went wrong with Closed Circuit but it was the perfect testing ground for talent, people who can shine in other films in the years ahead. Here’s hoping Bana picks better roles in the future, Crowley gets attached to better projects and that Rebecca Hall takes some acting lessons.