“Closed Circuit” has most of the makings for a good thriller. There’s MI5 spooks, double-dealing, corruption, an attractive cast and ripped from the headlines style story about overreaching security in the age of terror and information. What it lacks are the thrills.
Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall are Martin Rose and Claudia Simmons-Howe, lawyers and ex-lovers who find themselves in the crosshairs when their defense of Farroukh Erdogan (Denis Moschitto), a suspected terrorist, uncovers evidence that could cause a national scandal. Rose represents Erdogan in open court, while she is a special advocate whose business all happens behind closed doors.
They’re not supposed to communicate or have any contact, but as the case heats up, are forced to work together in order to survive.
In its rush to get to the climax—which is actually twisty-and-turny enough to be interesting—“Closed Circuit” blasts through plot details, not giving us any reason to care about the characters.
Like all good stories of spy huggermuggery, the movie is stylish looking, but beneath it’s slick surface there isn’t enough to keep us interested.
Which brings me to its male star. Once again Bana proves to be a handsome cipher—he’s a good-looking actor but as dull as dishwater. Hall has charm to burn in an underwritten role but sparks don’t exactly fly between these two, despite their apparent fondness for one another.
“Closed Circuit” could have been a comment on the British legal system’s use of closed sessions following the July 7, 2005 London bombing and who determines what information the public has a right to know but instead attempts and just barely succeeds in telling a much simpler story.