Closed Circuit: Packed with thriller ingredients, but it doesn't deliver

Gary Wolcott, atomictown.comAugust 29, 2013 

Film Review Closed Circuit

This film image released by Focus Features shows Eric Bana in a scene from "Closed Circuit." (AP Photo/Focus Features, Jay Maidment)

JAY MAIDMENT — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Closed Circuit starts with shots of video cameras following first one, then two, then many people shopping at a London market. Then there's an explosion. People die. A man is tracked down with terrorist group ties and is arrested. He's going to be tried for the crime.

His lawyer commits suicide and Eric Bana's (The Time Traveler's Wife) Martin Rose is assigned to the case. It's a tricky one. The British government must disclose some top-secret doings in order to prosecute the guy. Rose has to wade through legal tangles to defend the man and his client. The guy has many secrets, and those secrets are possibly linked to the government. He is scared to death to talk.

Complicating the case is Rose's relationship with Rebecca Hall's (Vicky Christina Barcelona) Claudia. They used to be lovers. Both are defending the same guy, but she represents the Crown and decides what he can or cannot see in setting up the defense.

Starting with a so-so script, not much in Closed Circuit works. That it isn't better is a surprise because it's penned by Steven Knight, who did the intriguing and sometimes ugly Dirty Pretty Things and the gritty Eastern Promises. He and director John Crowley waste an excellent cast. Bana, Hall, Jim Broadbent, Ciaran Hines, Julia Stiles and a most excellent and I think soon-to-be-a-star Riz Ahmed walk robotically through the film.

Closed Circuit works hard. It has government misdeeds, spies, spying, terrorist acts, covert threats, out-and-out threats, violence and murder. The cinematography is superb, and the film has a gray, overcast flavor.

Nice touch for a spy flick, but it's missing intrigue or any kind of nail-chewing mystery or surprise.

Director: John Crowley

Stars: Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall, Jim Broadbent, Ciaran Hines, Julia Stiles, Riz Ahmed

Mr. Movie rating: 2 stars

Rated R for violence, mature themes, language. It's playing at the Carmike 12.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.

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