(France/UAE/US - 2017)
Directed by James Ponsoldt. Written by James Ponsoldt and Dave Eggers. Cast: Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Karen Gillan, Bill Paxton, Ellar Coltrane, Patton Oswalt, Glenne Headly, Nate Corddry, Judy Reyes, Mamoudou Athie, Smith Cho, Amir Talai, Poorna Jagannathan, Eve Gordon. (PG-13, 110 mins)
Based on the 2013 novel by Dave Eggers, who shares screenplay credit with director James Ponsoldt (THE SPECTACULAR NOW), THE CIRCLE has a premise with such a short window of topicality that the movie adaptation feels dated just four years later. It doesn't help that TV shows like MR. ROBOT and BLACK MIRROR have already explored similar themes much more effectively, but THE CIRCLE loses the satirical elements of Eggers' novel and opts for a much more heavy-handed approach. What might've worked on the page doesn't work always work on the screen, as characters here don't have conversations as much as they drop exposition and make important speeches. Everything has to be simplified so the audience can stay caught up, then it starts glossing over things so much that the entire second half of the film is a complete mess. A lot of this was likely due to negative test screenings leading to extensive reshoots being done in January 2017, just three months before the film's release and long after filming wrapped in late 2015. The film goes in a completely different direction than the book, so much so that it's a safe assumption that the finished film isn't exactly a collaborative effort between Eggers and Ponsoldt.
|Bill Paxton (1955-2017)|