Director John Crowley’s “Closed Circuit” is a thriller that provides decent frights packed with good amount of espionage and double-cross. Unfortunately, it also does not bring anything new to the genre behind its elegant façade.

Director John Crowley’s “Closed Circuit” is a thriller that provides decent frights packed with good amount of espionage and double-cross. Unfortunately, it also does not bring anything new to the genre behind its elegant façade.

As shown in the trailer, when a truck suddenly explodes on the bustling street of London, esteemed lawyers, Martin Rose (Eric Bana), and Claudia Simmons- Howe (Rebecca Hall), plunge into dangers as they dig deep into a seemingly overt, terrorist’s trial. They soon realized that they sign up for something greater than they could handle—a war with politics.  

Bana (known for “Munich”, “Start Trek”) portrays a worrisome lawyer with quick wit. He does not stand down to injustice, and desires to make sense of the complexities around him despite their trailing risks. Hall, on the other hand, accompanies nicely with her tacit fragility behind a fearless exterior. The villains, who are numerous in this film, range from seemingly benign individuals to ruthless assassins.

At a first glance, “Closed Circuit” feels like an expansive Bond movie similar to the tone of “Skyfall” released back in 2012. If soundtrack adds an emotional touch to a movie, cinematography in “Closed Circuit” is its bonus ingredient. The film is composed of grayish colors occasionally highlighted by majestic night skies of London. The camera frames the world for the viewers, and zooms into details that can elicit shock or discomfort. The whole film screams elegance, but it’s almost too ethereal for a R-rated film—it lacks the rawness and honesty promised by a R-rated film.

Describing the film as emotionless is unfair, and perhaps overly critical. It is true that majority of the characters display personalities that are at times restrained to the point of tepid. Underneath the stringent interaction between the leads, however, the two lawyers who appear to loathe one another are in fact ex-lovers who long for each other’s presence. There is no depiction of romantic clichés, just two estranged lovers cautiously amending each other.

People who went into this movie expecting one and a half hours worth of actions will be disappointed. It’s important to note that “Closed Circuit” is thriller but not an action movie. Director Crowley takes time to build up the intensity, so that by the end as series of resolution unfolds, the sequence feels urgent and necessary. Rather, the movie focuses on depicting the characters’ internal predicaments that lead to their eventual fight or flight decisions. The audience should be prepared to watch a thriller that is dialogue-heavy and courtroom oriented.  

Similar to many governmentally thrillers, “Closed Circuit” fords the river of redundancy. There are no twists and turns, but a straightforward tale of two lawyers trapped into a whirlpool of hysteria. In the end, “Closed Circuit” is a mediocre thriller propelled by strong enough ambitions to package a simple storyline with integrity.

Running time: 1hr 36min; Rated R

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