‘Closed Circuit’: Legal thriller doesn’t make a case for itself
“Closed Circuit” is not without its charms. You just might wish the convoluted British thriller had a few more of them, writes Seattle Times movie critic Moira Macdonald.
Seattle Times movie critic
‘Closed Circuit,’ with Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall, Jim Broadbent, Ciaran Hinds, Denis Moschitto, Julia Stiles, Riz Ahmed, Anne-Marie Duff. Directed by John Crowley, from a screenplay by Steve Knight. 96 minutes. Rated R for language and brief violence. Several theaters.
There are pleasures to be had in the convoluted British thriller “Closed Circuit”: Rebecca Hall’s expressive face; Jim Broadbent chewing his role like it’s taffy; a courtroom scene in which the judge says, “Wigs off.” But they’re few and far between; mostly, this movie is a series of well-acted implausible events, tied together by a lot of scenes of people running.
After a terrorism attack in London leaves many dead, one man (Denis Moschitto) is arrested for the crime. The trial approaches, the accused’s lawyer mysteriously dies, and a new defense attorney named Martin Rose (Eric Bana) is appointed — who happens to be the former lover of the Special Advocate defense attorney, Claudia Simmons-Howe (Hall). (What is a Special Advocate? This movie’s characters will explain it to you, at great length.) It is, of course, not OK for two attorneys with a previous personal connection to be serving together in such capacities; nonetheless, Martin and Claudia decide they’re just going to go right ahead and lie about their shared history to the Attorney General (Broadbent) because ... well, I don’t know, and I’m not sure the filmmakers do either.
All of this happens in the early moments of the movie; the rest unfolds as legal-tinged thrillers tend to do, with chases and conspiracies and a lot of sinister-looking file folders. The cast keeps things just interesting enough, and director John Crowley maintains a mercifully snappy pace, but there’s nothing here that stays with you once the popcorn bag’s empty — except the hope that Hall will soon run, as quickly as possible, into a better movie.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or firstname.lastname@example.org