Release Date: Aug. 28, 2013
Running Time: 96 minutes
London is a city with almost two millions eyes on its residents at all times. You can’t walk anywhere in London without your every move being recorded by the city’s surveillance cameras at all times. The British political thriller Closed Circuit attempts to integrate London’s Big Brother-like mentality into a sobering tale of a government cover up, but director John Crowley and writer Steven Knight barely pay attention to the intrusive technology that their film seemingly seeks to employ to its own ends. Closed Circuit focuses on what Jim Broadbent’s Attorney General hysterically describes as the trial of the century. Defense attorneys Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall are selected to defend Denis Moschitto’s accused Isalmic terrorist, whom the government has connected via CCTV to a bomb blast that killed hundreds of people. Here’s where Closed Circuit gets a little complicated. Under British law, Bana can only defend Moschitto in open court. He’s denied access to the classified evidence made available to Hall, who is to defend Moschitto in closed hearings. Bana and Hall can’t even communicate, which makes it difficult to mount a defense for Moschitto. It doesn’t take too long before Bana realizes there’s something fishy going on, and he decides to risk his career—and possibly his life—by involving Hall. There’s nothing shocking or revelatory about the conspiracy that Bana uncovers. The only time Closed Circuit proves intriguing is when it examines Britain’s bewildering legal system, which according to the film appears to be designed to stack the deck against the accused in any cases that threatens national security. Crowley and Knight take such a dry approach to their potentially explosive story that it’s impossible to get too involved in Bana and Hall’s plight to save their client and reveal injustices committed in defense of the realm. This certainly is reflected in Bana and Hall’s drab performances. The only cast member to rise to the occasion is Riz Ahemd, who is suitably enigmatic as the shady MI5 agent assigned to assist Hall.Closed Circuit’s cardinal sin, though, is its failure to make a statement about London’s use of surveillance cameras to record the daily lives of city residents. Is it a necessary evil in this post-9/11 world we live in? Or is it a tool that robs us of our ability to move freely and is subject to abuse by our protectors? These are valid questions that Closed Circuit doesn’t have the inclination or stomach to address.
Aired: Aug. 29, 2013
Web site: http://www.focusfeatures.com/closed_circuit