Circle is a high-concept movie that should please folks who love that sort of thing, and the ending is admittedly great; however, it is somewhat predictable throughout.
Plot: 50 people wake up to find themselves standing in a circle and begin to die in two-minute intervals. They soon discover that they have the power to choose who lives and who dies.
Review: Back in the day, and we’re talking years ago, like before the turn of the millennium, I was all about high-concept movies. We’re talking about films like Face/Off, Speed, Hard Rain, Se7en, The Game, anything that took a movie and introduced a neat concept – loved them all. Story didn’t matter if the idea was there. Conversely, movies like, say, Titanic, whenever they did well, I was stunned – after all, it’s a love story on a boat that sinks – that’s it. So, what’s the appeal?
Now that I’m older, I’m a little different. Don’t get me wrong – I love me a good concept. However, the story has to be there, or I’m not as excited about it. And with that, you have Circle, a perfect example of a movie I would have been all over in my youth, but now, I think is more-or-less an okay movie.
And the biggest downfall is the story. Oh, it’s not full of holes or anything; it’s just very, very predictable. You get the whole “hey-what’s-happening” phase, the “let’s-try-and-beat-the-game” section, and finally, the social commentary that inevitably had to come. Racism, gay parents, religion, privilege, if it’s a hot-button topic (and there seems to be so many of them these days), it’s brought up. The movie takes a stand on none of them (more-or-less) but tries to present both sides of the arguments. All that is well and good, but since I hear this nonsense seemingly every time I turn on a television these days, I’ve had enough and don’t really want it in my entertainment.
As for the cast, they’re fine, no one really stands out as excellent, but neither stands out as garbage. They’re all competent and, for the most part, unknown (the only person I recognized was Julie Benz, but I’m sure there’s plenty of “ooh ooh, I’ve seen that person somewhere” moments for some viewers. They also did a good job of casting a wide variety of folks of different creeds, ages, etc., to represent a decent cross-section of society.
Other than that, it’s a short film, so at least they didn’t draw it out, the effects and setting (for what it is) are alright, and the ending is played out really well – as predictable as the movie is throughout, I definitely didn’t see the last moments coming.
So, that’s it for Circle. This movie is for high-concept fans who like their entertainment in a different way, and the mystery of who will survive will keep some folks interested throughout, and they were wise to keep the running time under 90 minutes. If you have that time to kill and looking for something different to see on Netflix, you could do worse.