Starring: Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, Patton Oswalt, Karen Gillan, John Boyega, Ellar Coltrane, Bill Paxton, Glenne Headley, Nate Corddry
Directed By: James Pondsolt
Plot: Mae (Watson) is looking for a new job. She gets her friend (Gillan) to get her a job at The Circle, which is a Google/Facebook like entity run by two visionaries (Hanks/Oswalt). Of course, everything is not as it seems… or maybe it is?
What Works: There’s a good concept here somewhere, and I’m positive there was a better version of this script that attracted Tom Hanks in the first place. Unfortunately, we didn’t get that film. What worked… Bill Paxton? I liked seeing Bill Paxton in here, and he’s good. He’s underused, but good. Glenne Headley was also good. Watson was OK, as was Hanks, but still somewhat disappointing. There are some cool ideas about advances in technology, and the film looks very professional. I didn’t really have an issue with the pacing, so that’s a good thing.
What Doesn’t Work: This a dull stupid film. In terms of plot progression, everything progresses exactly as you would expect. There are no twists. The characters are flat. John Boyega is barely used. Watson’s and Gillan’s accents are terrible, and come and go. The ending is so dumb. The film tries to hint at Oswalt and Hanks being the villains of the film, but does very little to suggest that they’re doing anything bad. On top of it, Hanks and Oswalt are really likeable actors, so you HAVE to sell them as bad guys. Hanks is actually given a little backstory which makes him seem like a good guy with good intentions, who really does want to make positive change. Then the end comes, and it almost makes Watson seem like the villain. The film also assumes its audience is stupid, and doesn’t explain things that happen. They just happen. I didn’t like Ellar Coltrane’s character or his acting. He was so poorly written. He’s the quasi-boyfriend, but Watson doesn’t really like him that much, and he’s only in a few scenes. He has a moment that’s supposed to impact the film, but due to poor development, he doesn’t actually impact the story at all.
Final Word: I totally understand why this didn’t screen for critics. It’s a huge disappointment. I’ve definitely seen worse films, but there’s not really much to say positive about this film. It had a good concept, some good ideas, Bill Paxton, and decent pacing. That’s about it.
Final Grade: C