'Closed Circuit' falls short of gripping, thought-provoking
‘Closed Circuit’ falls short of gripping, thought-provoking

“Closed Circuit” fancies itself as a gripping, thought-provoking political thriller/courtroom drama. Unfortunately, most of the time it is more bland than gripping, and its high-minded idealism is really kind of absurd if you spend much time thinking about it.

At its best, this movie feels like something you would stumble across on BBC America or PBS and leave you thinking to yourself “That was OK, but it would have been a lot better if Helen Mirren were in it.”

“Closed Circuit” (which I was secretly hoping was going to be another long-awaited sequel to “Short Circuit” with Johnny-Five fighting terrorists or something) stars Eric Bana as British public defender Martin Rose.

After the “suicide” of his predecessor, Martin is assigned to defend a man accused of masterminding a high-profile terrorist attack.

Martin is also assigned a partner, Claudia Simmons-Howe (Rebecca Hall), who, for the sake of added intrigue, is a former lover.

I don’t fully understand the British judicial system, but Martin and Claudia are forbidden from collaborating because Claudia is defending their client in a secret court (secret court equals no silly wigs) where classified information will be presented.

As you would expect, there is more to the case than meets the eye as the more Martin and Claudia uncover, the greater the danger they find themselves in.

There’s literally nothing here that you haven’t seen before and to make matters worse there is no real ending as the movie just kind of peters out. And in spite of its posturing, it doesn’t really have any grand message other than “government is kind of shady,” but the microchip implanted in your brain by the NSA could have told you that.

I can’t hang the failings of this movie on the cast, as Bana and Hall are dependable actors and they do have some traces of chemistry together.

The supporting cast is solid as well with Riz Ahmed as an MI5 agent, Julia Stiles as a New York Times reporter, Ciaran Hinds as Martin and Claudia’s trusted colleague, and Jim Broadbent as the intimidating attorney general.

There’s really not much else to this movie as it is light, inoffensive, and disposable. Perhaps a better use of your time would be to just turn on BBC America and wait for Helen Mirren to pop up.

“Closed Circuit” is rated R for language and brief violence.

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