Movie review: Courtroom thriller seeks a deeper meaning

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLEAugust 30, 2013 

Closed Circuit

Eric Bana plays a British barrister who works to find the truth in a complex terrorist plot in “Closed Circuit.”

  • CLOSED CIRCUIT

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    Rated: R for language and brief violence. Starring: Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall, Jim Broadbent. Director: John Crowley. Running time: 96 minutes. Theaters: The Flicks and Edwards 22 in Boise, Majestic 18 in Meridian.

The cloud of dystopian despair that we’ve come to take for granted in our movies has drifted all the way to Britain, as can be seen in the thriller “Closed Circuit.”

It depicts a world of evil terrorists warring against almost-as-evil British government officials, in which friends aren’t trustworthy, old verities are defunct and nobody is safe except the stupid.

Nice to know our British cousins aren’t feeling too optimistic these days, either.

The movie is steeped in the details of English law, and rather than being obscure or arcane, these details ground the film and give it an authentic air.

We’ll avoid going into plot specifics here. But to speak generally, “Closed Circuit” is about two lawyers whose lives become endangered as they get closer and closer to a secret that powerful entities would like to keep under wraps.

What’s peculiar about the movie — both a flaw and a virtue — is that neither is trying to do anything of tangible importance. That is, they’re not trying to prevent some terrible event from taking place. They’re really only trying to hold up concepts, but important ones, like honesty and the rule of law. And they’re trying to survive.

They might be working to uphold something that no longer exists. That is, for all their worldliness and cynicism, they may be children in a world of adults, fighting a lost cause. This makes for less drama, but in the end might be the point.

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