Stuck in a dead-end job, Mae Holland (Emma Watson) is offered an interview at The Circle, the world’s largest social media network. Successfully through, she goes on to discover that the The Circle’s huge campus holds just as many secrets as it does opportunities.
Knowing is good, however…knowing everything is better.
With its subtle references to George Orwell’s 1984 and set inside a Google-style campus, ‘The Circle’ creates a convincing portrait of information technology gone awry and the dangers it poses to privacy. “Knowing is good, however…knowing everything is better” opines Tom Hank’s Eamon Bailey as the head of The Circle. As charming manipulators go, both he and Patton Oswald make for a believable, yet creepy pairing and Bill Paxton and Glenne Headly also bring welcome believability as Mae’s parents.
However where ‘The Circle’ breaks, is in its central characterisation of Mae and its under-use of John Boyega. Because although earnestly played through-out, both actors (and many others of the cast) seem to be in the service of a story so polished that, that when its ending comes, it has lost the bite of its initial premise.
In creating a believable world so ready to sacrifice privacy in exchange for progress, it’s sad that this adaptation of Dave Egger’s best-selling book isn’t more gripping. With its individual scenes and chilling forecasts, ‘The Circle’ is a patchy prediction at best. Looking pedestrian compared to Tony Scott’s much older ‘Enemy of The State’ (where believability is stretched to an impossibly thin line), it was still a chilling tight-rope to stand upon. The same cannot be said of ‘The Circle’. Faltering as a thriller, ‘The Circle’ is a film that’s unlikely to dent the box office and will only leave you wishing it had been as brave with its plot as it had been with its warnings.