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  • 15
  • Drama, Thriller
  • 2013
  • 96 mins

Closed Circuit

Film4

Synopsis

Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall star as crusading barristers in this legal thriller set around a fictional terrorist attack on London.

About

Movie lawyers never learn. Whenever they find themselves assigned to a case mid-way through because the previous lawyer “committed suicide”, they never stop and think “I say, I wonder if my predecessor got too close to the truth and was bumped off by someone who’d rather certain facts never came to light? Maybe I’ll sit this one out and watch Ally McBeal repeats instead.”

Eric Bana’s seasoned pro Martin Rose is no exception, and in partnership with ‘Special Advocate’ Claudia Simmons-Howe (Rebecca Hall), he goes in to bat for the defence team of Farroukh Erdogan (Denis Moschitto), a suspected terrorist mastermind who’s the only survivor out of a group of men connected to a bomb blast at London’s Borough Market. Within minutes of digging around, Rose and Simmons-Howe discover a shocking truth about Erdogan, one which the preceding six months of police investigations failed to turn up but which has already resulted in one dead barrister. As their investigation deepens, they find themselves embroiled in a conspiracy which goes, you guessed it, all the way to the top.

If all that sounds familiar, that’s because Closed Circuit is a disappointing exercise in saying nothing that hasn’t been said before. The authorities are covering up unpalatable facts for the good of national security, you say? If that’s new to you, then you can’t handle the truth, which is that this kind of thing peaked in 1992 when Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson spat Aaron Sorkin’s razor-sharp words across a courtroom in A Few Good Men. Closed Circuit’s Steven Knight is a good writer, but he’s no Sorkin. Hoped-for twists and turns never show up, and audiences will count the minutes until the hero finally realises he can’t trust his closest allies, despite them practically having “traitor” tattooed on their face.

Least believably, Closed Circuit takes a huge story (international terrorism) and reduces it to three or four key players, thereby downgrading the drama. Bana and Hall are extremely likable, watchable actors and their presence ensures you won’t nod off, but you never believe they’re in danger from the enormous dark forces behind the conspiracy. In fact the most convincing element may be Bana’s plummy English accent.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Julia Stiles, Ciarán Hinds, Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall, Jim Broadbent
  • Director: John Crowley
  • Screen Writer: Steven Knight
  • Producer: Liza Chasin, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Chris Clark
  • Photographer: Adriano Goldman
  • Composer: Joby Talbot

In a nutshell

Closed Circuit zips along nicely and has a decent stab at being a serious contemporary thriller, but feels too contained for its far-reaching ideas. Its 96 minutes fly by, but this is the kind of drama far better served these days on television.

by Neil Alcock

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