Friday, August 30, 2013
"Closed Circuit": timely, and a kid plays the Assange game against British secret service; the style of Hitchcock without the humor
“Closed Circuit” (directed by John Crowley has the plotting and style of a Hitchcock film, without the sly humor and originality. You wind up with a “pretty good” thriller, although it seems timey given the controversy over surveillance, secrecy, government abuse, and Wikileaks (and especially the British detention of the male partner of an aggressive journalist).
After a huge terror bombing in London, the British government arrests a Turkish immigrant Farroukh Erdogan (Denis Moschitto) and conceals some of the critical evidence from the lead defense attorney Martin Rose (Eric Bana). Instead, a judge has to rule on the classified part, where the defendant has a “special advocate” Claudia Simmons-Howe (Rebecca Hall). She’s not allowed to have any communication with the main defense attorney. The only “problem” (for the writers) is that the two have a tentative romantic relationship. This is an affair, but not of strangers.
The camera surveillance really doesn’t fit as neatly into the plot as it has in some other similar thrillers, like “Paris under Watch” (April 19, 2012) or “Look” (March 31, 2012).
It’s not hard to guess the reason for the secrecy, of course. The defendant was putatively set up by British intelligence, which was not as sharp as it is in “Skyfall”. And the person who figured all this out and who has the damning evidence is the 14 year old son Emir (Hasancan Cifci) of the defendant. The boy has hacked his dad’s computers and apparently all of M15, and is amazingly capable of taking care of himself, despite the need to protect him. He turns out as the most compelling character in the movie.
There are a few others, though. Jim Broadbent makes more than cameos, as an upper, loyalist intelligence official (the same acting style as in “Longford”) and the chilling young man (Riz Ahmed) who watches over Claudia when she works in the “inner sanctum”, which is still open to windows and cameras.
The courtroom scenes are interesting, if sparing. Why does everyone wear a wig? Supposedly it is to derail "lookism" in the court (link).
The official site from Focus is here.
I saw the film at the late show Friday night in a small auditorium in the Regal complex in Ballston, Arlington VA.
Wikipedia attribution link for London picture; My last visit, May 2001.