For me and many others, Netflix has had an unprecedented string of original hits. There’s nothing more exciting that when you log in and see there’s a new movie on your home screen. Imagine my excitement to see Emma Watson and Tom Hanks starring in a brand-new Netflix Original techno-thriller called The Circle. Naturally, I didn’t hesitate but about twenty minutes in it became clear that this wasn’t a Netflix Original at all. It’s actually just a load of crap.

What is The Circle all about?

The Circle is a techno-thriller that samples various elements of our online lives, dipping into companies like Google and Facebook for inspiration. The plot, if you can call it a plot, follows Mae Holland (Emma Watson) move from utility company customer care into tech company visionary. Here, she opens up her life to the world through technology. This might sound familiar to followers of Motivating Marty, which returns soon.

Mae joins The Circle working in customer care. When the company gives her suffering father, Bill Paxton in his final role, health insurance, Mae decides to repay The Circle by going fully transparent. This means the world can watch her life, leading to her meteoric rise within the company. She then pioneers a technology called Soul Search, which in the space of 20 minutes locates a child murderer and leads to the death of Mae’s childhood friend. All the while, Finn from Star Wars is floating around in the background while Carla from Scrubs makes a brief cameo.

Throughout the movie, The Circle is progressively imposing themselves on the public, breaking down the walls of privacy. The results range from ruined relationships to death. By the end of it all the film is out of control. You can see that the creators obviously just had money to spend and axes to grind against the technology world, only succeeding one of these.

Why does The Circle suck so much?

First of all, the movie has this line in it that became a tagline and it’s awful:

Here on in, there are spoilers. Well, they’re only spoilers if you plan to watch this film, which you shouldn’t.

The movie takes an early stance that technology is bad and that’s fair enough. Actually, quite a few of the privacy topics that they touch on are genuine concerns. The problem comes when the creators focus so much on ‘tech being evil’ that they forget they’re making a movie. By the end of the movie, you’ve seen loads of tech-paranoia and it’s a wake is a waste of some great acting ability. Like, come on, they had Finn from Star Wars and Emma Watson. The writer obviously hoped that having familiar faces on screen would be enough and by combining that with the fear of tech, it would be a guaranteed home run.

 

Did it have to be a terrible movie?

Not at all and here’s why.

The cast of The Circle

This movie has a cast that usually means quality. Instead, the cast was just another crutch the director and writers leant on:

  • Tom Hanks
  • Emma Watson
  • John Boyega AKA yer man from Star Wars
  • Carla from Scrubs
  • Patton Oswalt
  • Bill Paxton

Technophobia is a load of balls

Don’t get me wrong – we need to stay astute and on top of what the world’s biggest tech companies are doing with our data and privacy. But, this film took the piss going straight towards scaremongering. Now, I’m not a fan of scaremongering as you may have read in the past, but this was next level stuff.

The verdict

Leaving aside the fact I love technology, The Circle could have made some valid points regarding online privacy. Instead, it just jammed a load of scenes into a row, insisting it was a film and botching its own arguments as a result. The ending, of good Christ, the ending. Actually, was there an ending? It’s hard to tell – maybe it was a terrible cliffhanger. Oh no, there could be a sequel.

This could have easily been a movie of Snowden-style and impact, but instead – well it’s a load of shite. Don’t waste your time watching it and please don’t make another one.

 

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