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With: Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Ciarán Hinds, Julia Stiles, Jim Broadbent, Riz Ahmed, Kenneth Cranham, Barbora Bobulová, Jemma Powell, Doug Allen, Anne-Marie Duff
Written by: Steven Knight
Directed by: John Crowley
MPAA Rating: R for language and brief violence
Running Time: 96
Date: 08/28/2013

Closed Circuit (2013)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Camera Eyes

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

With the death of a prominent English barrister, Martin Rose (Eric Bana) is asked to take over a huge case in Closed Circuit. A potential terrorist has been arrested in conjunction with a bombing that killed 120 people in London. According to the rules, he's not allowed to speak to the Special Advisor on the case, Claudia Simmons-Howe (Rebecca Hall), and they both decide to hide the fact that they were once lovers. Claudia is given secret information that could jeopardize the security of the country, and may only be discussed in a closed court session. In his investigation, Martin discovers a connection between the terrorist and MI5; he also realizes that this discovery is what got his predecessor killed. Can Martin survive long enough to expose the truth?

This movie is being advertised as from the makers of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and for a while, it seems as if Closed Circuit may be the same kind of intelligent moviemaking that builds drama through discreet conversations and the passing of crucial information. Written by Steven Knight and directed by John Crowley, the characters seem smart, and interactions between characters reveal interesting ideas as well as unspoken tensions.

But then, it seems as if the filmmakers suddenly decided to switch their movie from a smart English thriller to a dumb American one. The chase scenes begin, as well as the face-offs, attempted killings, and escapes. These are all handled with startling clumsiness and an extreme lack of logic. The bad guys are given too much power, and it never makes sense when they fail to use this power. The good guys simply luck out. The first two-thirds almost makes this movie worth the trouble, but the final third is so dissatisfying that it can't be recommended.

Not to mention that the title, and the idea of surveillance cameras, isn't really used for much of anything in the final outcome.

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