Film & TV

British Film Festival Review: Closed Circuit

A bomb explodes in a Central London market, killing 120 people but there is more to the terrorism case than meets the eye in this slick thriller by Steven Knight.


OneChanceA bomb explodes in a Central London market, killing 120 people. The police arrest a suspected terrorist. A defence attorney is brought in by the Government but when he seems to have committed suicide, he is replaced by top-notch attorney, Martin Rose (Eric Bana); and because there are government documents involved, the defence call in a special advocate, Claudia Simmons-Howe (Rebecca Hall). Rose and Simmons-Howe have had an unsuccessful relationship and there is more to the terrorism case than meets the eye.

That is the basic plot line of John Crowley’s legal and political thriller, Closed Circuit. Steven Knight’s screenplay moves along almost as quick and slick as the brief outline, but is very easy to follow even though it becomes slightly ‘stock-in-trade’ toward the end.

It deals with the very modern issues of terrorism and privacy. Closed Circuit is very reminiscent of those great English cinema classics of yesteryear – in fact, the way Bana plays Martin Rose reminded this reviewer of Dirk Bogarde. Bana has mastered the British acting trait of understatement; his accent is nicely clipped, his dialogue soft spoken, and it’s his eyes that give his thoughts and emotions away. Hall does this superbly as well.

Perhaps the leads have learnt their British suaveness from co-star Jim Broadbent as the Attorney-General. His is the type of spot-on characterisation that one expects from this top class actor. Ciaran Hinds adds some delightful Irish larrikinism as Bana’s associate.

What helps make this thriller so interesting is Crowley’s use of closed circuit television screens and numerous one person close-ups, giving us the impression that we are imposing ourselves on the action – almost as if we are the watchers watching the watchers.

Closed Circuit is a good thriller and passes the time quickly, but at the end of the day it is an entertaining film that probably won’t have a lot of impact.

Reviewed by Brian Godfrey

Rating out of 10: 7

The inaugural British Film Festival runs 22 November – 1 December 2013, exclusively at the Palace Nova Eastend cinemas.


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