The Circle is nothing new

A great cast does not a great movie make.

Tom Hanks holds a mug in this riveting screencap. - VIA IMDB
via imdb
Tom Hanks holds a mug in this riveting screencap.

Emma Watson has two films in theatres right now—one has just become one of the top 10 highest-grossing films of all time, the inessential but good Beauty and the Beast remake, and this thing. The Circle, on paper, has great ingredients: Watson, Tom Hanks, Patton Oswalt, cool director (James Ponsoldt of The Spectacular Now and The End of the Tour) and a liberal elite screenwriter (Dave Eggers) adapting his own novel. But whoever pressed blend left some chunks in—that Beauty works and this is a mess is one of the many conundrums of Hollywood. The Circle is a Google-esque company (the office is called “the campus,” everyone’s at work even in their free time) that pitches connectivity as a social justice tool and essential human right—when Watson’s Mae is hired they’ve just introduced tiny HD cameras that can be placed anywhere to catch various war crimes and not your spending habits or anything—but really is a nefarious, insidious corporation like all the rest with dreams of controlling the world. Mae is convinced to go “fully transparent”—be online 24/7 save bathroom breaks—which of course has terrible effects on her life and everyone in it, including poor Bill Paxton in his last filmed role as her father. The privacy debate is so boring at this point—we’ve all signed up, it’s too late—so at the end when a giant screen of screens watching everything all over the world flashes by, it it isn’t ominous, it’s like seeing the security room in the mall of the world. Points for making Hanks a Jobsian messiah/prick, but there’s little here, and nothing new of note.

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