Circle (2015) Review

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RATING: 3/5

[SPOILERS]

Fifty random people are captured by an unknown force that wishes to see the outcome of their morals and values throughout.

With the limited budget that this film had, it did well at presenting some intense and nail-biting moments.

The initial opening of the movie got one’s attention quick. As the camera performed a 360 of the room that all fifty participants were kept in. When one of these people woke up, she had the same feeling as a viewer. She doesn’t know what is going on, why is she here, where is she, why are there more people in the same predicament as she is. All of those questions were the same that a normal viewer would ask.

In terms of the setting, it was really cool. In particular in how the “experiment” was designed. An unknown energy sphere in the center, surrounded by arrows that correspond to a person. That visual aesthetic delivered an eerie and ominous vibe.

Continuing from that, the concept behind the experiment was simple, but it was interesting and fun. People have to vote on who had to die based on assumptions and the right to live. If a person took a step too far, he/she would die. As the film progressed, more rules were revealed thus turning the engagement factor up to a degree.

A vast majority of the cast were unknowns and were pretty diverse, which was good for the premise shown. Though, a lot of the performances were alright to eh. There were at points some hammy and over-the-top acting, especially for the paranoid folk. 

The banter and dialogue between the people were fun to listen to. This was the aspect that made the film suspenseful and it got one edgy of who was going to die next. It helped in studying each person’s personality, thus making one question of who that particular individual was siding with or against.

A big inspiration for the film was “12 Angry Men.” It definitely showcased that, as all fifty people were like jurors deciding the fates of what one another, guilty or innocent. Granted I think it was a bit too far in the fashion department as one guy was wearing something that looked straight from the 50s. Not to mention he had varying views on marriage, which a younger guy across from him told him it wasn’t the 1950s anymore. That remark I’m fine with, but the wardrobe, not so much.

Going back to the concept and rules, there were points where the rules were broken. It didn’t make a lick of sense as to why a bunch of people died toward the end. I suppose to make the film scarier.

It was probably me, but there were a couple times where I was fairly certain a couple people weren’t there before. Like they were added there for the film’s convenience. Or were there to move the plot further with no real impact by the end. There were two random guys who may have been more knowledgable than others about what was happening.

Speaking of the end, this was a movie that wished it had multiple endings. But at the same time, this dived back into the problems of the rules. A pregnant woman was involved. The woman died and yet there was a tie between her unborn child and the last participant. If the unborn child lived, what happens after that? It reminded me a little of the first “Purge” movie, an interesting premise that wasn’t planned out all the way.

With the very last scene in the movie, it was a head-scratcher. It left me with the same feeling that the people throughout had, what was the point of this? Even if one did have a good idea, one would be asking for more.

Having an interesting premise with a cool-looking production, there were intense and thought-provoking moments that will leave one guessing throughout. Albeit with questionable acting and choppy writing, this was still a fun piece to watch.

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