Take a really close look at who looks at us in ‘Closed Circuit’

The closed circuit cameras watching everything just before the bomb goes off at the start of 'Closed Circuit'
The closed circuit cameras watching everything just before the bomb goes off at the start of ‘Closed Circuit’

[rating=3]Starring:  Eric Bana, Rebecca Hull, Riz Ahmed, Jim Broadbent, Denis Moschitto, Ciaran Hinds, Ann-Marie Hinds, Julia Stiles and Hasancan Cifci
Writer(s):  Steven Knight
Director(s):  John Crowley

Closed Circuit is a taut thriller that has a little of everything.  A little action, a little chasing, a little mystery and while it is certainly better than average, it is not stellar.  The film begins with a montage of ever-multiplying numbers of closed circuit cameras recording every movement and word going on in a crowded marketplace in London.  Someone drives a large truck into the center of the marketplace, and as someone is yelling that the truck can’t be parked there, it explodes.  We are spared the bulk of the horrific aftermath of such things although we do get to see the inevitable memorial at the site of the blast.

A man named “Farroukh Erdogan” (Moschitto) is arrested and charged with masterminding the blast.  His fellow terrorists were killed when they resisted arrest.  Now the Crown must charge and convict Farroukh at trial.  But before the trial can begin, his barrister leaps from the roof of a building.  “Simon” who was to have defended Farroukh had been working with “Devlin” (Hinds) and they were both close to “Martin Rose” (Bana), the barrister who is taking over as defense barrister.

Eric Bana in 'Closed Circuit'
Eric Bana in ‘Closed Circuit’

But under the system of British jurisprudence, since there is classified information that was used in the arrest of Farroukh he will actually have two barristers.  One who handles the sessions that are held in open court, and another who works only in the closed door sessions where the court can examine the classified material and determine if it should be moved to an open session to be considered.  “Claudia Simmons-Howe” (Hull) is the barrister who gets the job.

Now this is problematic, since she had been having an affair with Martin that has ended, although not before costing him his marriage.  The rules make it clear that their affair makes them unsuitable to hold these posts, but they won’t disclose the truth.  They both want to continue on the case.


Turns out there are many more secrets at play here, some of which some people will kill to prevent the disclosure of.  If Martin and/or Claudia wind up letting the cat out of the bag, they may be stuffed into that bag and placed in a dumpster.

Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall in 'Closed Circuit'
Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall in ‘Closed Circuit’

The idea of a terrorist being something that he doesn’t appear to be isn’t an entirely original idea, nor is the notion of a conspiracy where powerful people don’t want their dirty laundry aired in public.  Nonetheless, the script is good enough to provide competent players with characters they can add depth to.  Bana seems a bit off his game.  Not bad by any stretch, but just not as good as he has shown he can be.  Hull continues to deliver excellence and while her beauty is being downplayed, the camera still has a romantic fixation on her.  The technical stuff involving intelligence fieldcraft is done well enough that it can’t be seriously criticized and the typical happy ending may or may not come to pass.  You’ll have to see it for yourself to find out and I think you will enjoy the film if you do.

Rated – R for language and brief violence

Running Time – One hour and thirty-six minutes

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