Circuits Overloaded

Closed Circuit

 DATELINE: MASHED UP MOVIES

With the revelations provided by Edward Snowden of surveillance and spying on average citizens by mammoth government agencies, it seems we may be in for a spate of cloak and dagger dramas like Closed Circuit.

This tidy nightmare depicts legalities undermined in a British terrorism court case with MI6’s fingerprints all over it.

We must admit we are delighted to see Eric Bana actually in a film that draws on his sharpest acting skills, instead of swords, special effects, and his good looks. He plays Martin Rose, a barrister facing “accidents” or a stage suicide if he digs too deeply into motives of an accused terrorist.

Julia Stiles is aboard as an American journalist, but her role is small enough to be effective and unnerving. She is matched with Jim Broadbent with his several powerful scenes. Claran Hinds also serves his role well as a duplicitous solicitor.

When MI6 has surveillance everywhere, we were reminded of the TV series Person of Interest. The fiction has now been overtaken by the reality.

Rebecca Hall is a colleague of Bana’s—and a former love interest. Together they may uncover a political scandal at a cost to them and their client.

Movies like this one usually are meant to be cautionary tales, but when you are rendered powerless and inconsequential by shadow government agencies, there is not much opportunity for salvation. Closed Circuit reminds us of John LeCarre at his most cynical Cold War espionage tales.

Effective and a bit frightening, this film may be an ultimate downer, a cry that the sky is falling that comes too late.