“The Circle” is possibly the most disappointing movie I’ve seen this year. It’s a perfect example of a film that asks a great question but doesn’t ever follow through on the ideas and answers that follow. It’s also a great example of how smart moviegoers are becoming and how Hollywood might need to change its approach.
Director James Ponsoldt, who also wrote the screenplay as an adaptation of Dave Eggers’ 2013 novel of the same name, doesn't do anything out of the ordinary here and that’s why this film falls flat. There’s hardly any tension and everything seems a little incomplete, as if it needed more time to develop the characters and why they do what they do.
The movie is really about Emma Watson’s (“Harry Potter,” “Beauty and the Beast”) Mae. She gets an internship at faux-Google where Tom Hanks’ ("Forrest Gump," "Sully") Bailey is king and the movie hits a wall from there. The premise is great but the execution is lazy. It takes the question of whether having complete control of information and bypassing privacy is right if it's used for the greater good but wastes it as a plot device to lead Watson on a boring goose chase.
Ponsoldt tries to paint Hanks in the light of an egotistical man that is trying to cure the Earth of tragedy in the worst ways possible but I never felt as if Hanks’ character was ever the bad guy. Sure, great villains are never the ones who sit an a chair and stroke their cat as they divulge their evil plan to rule the world. But I think Hanks’ character was half-baked at best — even though his delivery is superb whenever he’s on screen.
Really, Hanks is hardly there and John Boyega (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) is also in this film for a glance even though they were thoroughly used in the trailers.
I think the producers of this movie knew that it was not going to be a success and tried to put butts in seats by pimping out both “A-List” stars in the advertisement leading up to the release. So I’m happy to see that “The Circle” debuted in fifth in the weekend national box office, despite being shown on 3,163 theaters; For comparison, “How to be a Latin Lover” was in only 1,118 theaters and was second in the weekend national box-office.
It puts a smile on my face that moviegoers are doing their research and saying no to movies that slap on “A-Listers” in the hope that people will rush into the theater to watch them.
“The Circle” is that. Stay away.
BOX OFFICE REVIEW
1. “The Fate of the Furious”: $19,389,780 (Week 3); Universal. Total Gross: $192,721,355.
2. “How to be a Latin Lover”: $12,018,500 (Week 1); Lionsgate.
3. “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion”: $10,138,189 (Week 1); Great India Films.
4. "The Boss Baby": $9,372,386 (Week 5); Fox. Total Gross: $148,787,970.
5. “The Circle”: $9,034,148 (Week 1); STX Entertainment.
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