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Closed Circuit - DVD Review

Closed Circuit

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

JOHN Crowley’s terrorism related legal thriller begins with a bang but gradually loses its way. A conspiracy drama entangled within an awkward romance, Closed Circuit eventually squanders the talents of its very decent cast.

That said, the film’s opening sequence succeeds in grabbing your attention, unfolding amid split screen CCTV footage of Borough Market in London just before a bomb detonates to leave British security forces counting the cost of the worst terror attack on home soil since 7/7.

Six months later, the sole surviving suspect is awaiting imminent trial and the Attorney General (Jim Broadbent) appoints a new lead defence in the form of Martin Rose (Eric Bana), following the apparent suicide of his predecessor.

There are immediately complications, the most notable of which is the presence of former lover Claudia Simmons-Howe (Rebecca Hall) as Special Advocate, which represents a conflict of interests if revealed.
But as Martin and Claudia delve deeper into the case it becomes apparent that the government, or MI5, may also have something to hide.

Crowley’s thriller deserves some credit for taking a darker, more sceptical view of the current war on terror and for making some bold creative decisions on the way to its relatively downbeat conclusion. It also lifts the lid on changes to the British judicial system in the wake of 7/7 and poses some relevant questions about the nature of the law and the proliferation of CCTV in London.

But some of its execution is sloppy. The pacing is sometimes pedestrian while the romantic sub-plot provides an unnecessary melodrama that detracts from the main thriller element.

Some of the plotting is predictable, too, with supposedly surprising character revelations too easily telegraphed. If the film was seeking to induce a feeling of paranoia akin to the conspiracy thrillers of the ’70s, it doesn’t quite pull it off as more astute viewers will be able to guess who you can and can’t trust.

A starry cast, which also includes Ciaran Hinds, Riz Ahmed, Kenneth Cranham and Julia Stiles, also gets letdown at times as not every character is fully formed.

Hence, for all of its lofty aspirations, Closed Circuit quite often disappoints and fails to consistently hold the attention as tightly as it should.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 95mins
UK Release Date: February 17, 2014