This 2017 American fantasy thriller is directed by James Ponsoldt and stars Emma Watson, John Boyega, Karen Gillan, Ellar Coltrane, Glenne Headly, Bill Paxton and Tom Hanks.
First I heard of this film was casting news on Twitter:
“Star Wars’ John Boyega to join Emma Watson and Tom Hanks in sci-fi thriller ‘The Circle’”.
Now. You tell me. How is the above tweet seen as a bad thing? John Boyega is a rising star and then some, Tom Hanks IS a star and then some. Sci-fi thrillers are quite good, and Emma Watson is...meh, well, Emma Watson. So in all I liked the sound of it.
Next I hear, it didn’t make UK cinemas and it became available on Netflix. And those who saw it panned it. So I managed to finally see it for myself after a few months when I actually forget John Boyega was in it and just went on the fact it was a Tom Hanks feature.
How disappointed I was to find that Emma Watson really can’t act, Tom Hanks is in a mere supporting role he probably filmed in 2 days, John Boyega hardly pops up, and that spoon-faced Karen Gillan shares more screen-time with Watson than anyone else. What a nightmare.
The plot itself is nothing new. It’s interesting enough teasing our possible future and it gives enough sinister glimpses into how cold and narrow-minded humankind can be in search of “popularity” and keeping “in touch” with society. The use of drones, mini-cameras and live feeds are all present and played on here, so it’s pretty relevant, but in the guise of a company you just KNOW is out for selfless means from the start.
Tom Hanks pops up with shaggy beard and a faithful cup of tea in every scene, and automatically for me I enjoy whatever he’s doing. He’s the man behind the sinister corporation, but still likable enough even when he’s trying to take control of people’s free-will without them knowing.
It also features the late Bill Paxton and Glenne Headley in their final film roles, and they are pretty forgetful and very basic “mother and father” roles that don’t REALLY do much, which is a shame.
So it’s down to Emma Watson and Karen Gillan to lead the story and we have to buy into Watson rising from nobody to somebody with cardboard emotion and an irritating accent, alongside Gillan with an even more annoying presence thanks to her over-acting and general air of thinking she’s something great just because she bagged a Marval role. They are the worst pairing I could imagine, so my heart sank when they came together.
I wanted more Hanks. More Hanks, more Boyega, less Watson and no Gillan. That would have been perfect. But the pace really dips and dives for the first hour or so thanks to little happening and having to invest in Watson’s journey, when most of the time you just don’t care for her at all and just perk up with other actors are on screen.
It’s not the worst film out there, but to have Hanks all over the marketing, it’s clear what they wanted to market the film on being, when really, it wasn’t what they wanted at all. No real villain, no real motivation, no real drama, no real emotion or conflict.