Review: ‘The Circle’

Review: The Circle

Audrey Vieira, Staff writer

“The Circle” is an ironic title for a film that was anything but well-rounded. Throughout the film, characters pose perplexing questions about technology and internet privacy, only to leave them all unanswered once the credits roll.

In the first few scenes of “The Circle,” the concept seemed interesting. After being hired by The Circle, the world’s most powerful technology company, Mae Holland (Emma Stone) is urged by its founder (Tom Hanks) to participate in a social media experiment involving a high-tech camera. Despite warnings that she is giving up her privacy, Mae agrees to wear the camera at all times and livestream her day-to-day life on the internet.

As soon as Mae fastens the tiny camera to her shirt, the techno-thriller goes downhill, wasting screen time on fascinating scenes such as Mae brushing her teeth, talking to her livestream’s followers while brushing her teeth, sitting in on a board meeting and talking to her followers during the board meeting. Perhaps “The Circle” was an appropriate title after all – the plot hardly progressed until the last 20 minutes, instead repeating the same events and focusing on the same flat characters.

To concede, there was one character with personality, emotions and a motive behind his actions. John Boyega was excellent in his performance as a secretive Circle employee. His scenes are a welcome change from the numerous sequences of Mae videotaping her life, Skyping her parents or livestreaming her Skype call with her parents. However, Boyega’s character, Ty, frequently disappears from the plot and the film seems to forget he even exists at some points. For a company that supposedly keeps tabs on all its employees, I found it frustrating that he was forgotten to the point where other major characters did not know his name.

I give “The Circle” a D-. Despite being a high-concept thriller, it didn’t feel intriguing and failed to delve deeper into its storylines or develop important characters. Any potential for this film to send an eye-opening message about privacy and internet use was ruined by the confusion I was left with once it was finally over.