Do you ever watch a film and notice that even though it’s not doing many things wrong, it’s also not doing anything right? Closed Circuit falls into that trap of wanting to be a provocative espionage thriller but remains a confused, empty mess of a tale. The film opens with an interestingly staged explosion that takes place in a London market, killing 120 people and being one of the worst terrorist attacks on their soil in history. They believe a young man who used to deal/do heroin and moved to London from Germany may be the mastermind behind the whole plan, fueling these extremists and allowing them to execute their plan. He has a wife and daughter and is seemingly innocent, although for some reason he’s connected loosely.
We all know where this is going to head, particularly when Martin Rose (Eric Bana) steps in for the man who was prosecuting before. Reason being? That man mysteriously committed suicide. Martin has to work with Claudia (Rebecca Hall), a woman he had an affair with that destroyed his marriage. She’s working with the closed evidence, which can only be seen by her unless she decides that the defendant needs to see it; as she begins to peruse and Martin looks further, they notice discrepancies that most certainly lead to conspiracies. The Attorney General (Jim Broadbent) is also involved, defending the notion of a closed trial because the accused will be represented. Like any conspiracy thriller, things aren’t as they seem.
Closed Circuit believes it’s a good film. The biggest problem is that we’ve seen this type of film before in a better wrapping, and seen more compelling characters and plot points. These are such thinly drawn ideas of what protagonists should be that we have no connection with them whatsoever; they aren’t even that sensual for being a couple that had an affair. Bana and Hall deserve better work than this, but Broadbent has a blast with a role that has a few juicy lines. He delivers them with some sick grandeur. I couldn’t find much else to enjoy in the feature, though, since it ends on a slightly ambiguous note that seems standard for the genre nowadays. The film needed to be more ambitious in its intentions, but instead feels pretty rudimentary and safe.
Grade: ★★ (out of 5)