A three hour movie where nothing happens, which is impressive considering the movie is only an hour and forty minutes.
The Circle is an adaption of a book by Dave Eggers, in which Mae (Emma Watson) lands a job at red Facebook, and begins to get caught up in some seemingly nefarious scheme by CEO Tom Hanks (Tom Hanks). I’d like to tell you that the movie is full of twists and turns. That it’s an edge of your seat techno-thriller. That it’s not awful, but I won’t lie to you.
It isn’t any of those things, instead, it’s just mind-numbingly boring. There is a glimmer of hope here though! Whenever it is not being the movie equivalent of NyQuil it’s a laugh riot, even if the other theater patrons send you death glares.
Alas, I will to try to dissect to you what has the potential of being one of 2017’s worst films.
I will make the truth known to you, dear reader, I showed up late to the movie, but do not despair, I barely missed anything, probably. Our protagonist, Mae, is a young woman who’s father has MS and she works for a boring company doing a boring job. She gets a call from her friend Annie (Karen Gillan) one day, and they have a phone conversation that lasts about three hours in move time. Annie gets Mae an interview at The Circle, which is a giant social media conglomerate. Mae goes through the interview, which consists of questions like, “Mario or Sonic?” and, “Paul or John?” Blatantly weird and insulting questions. This is the point in the film where you begin to wonder if this is an attempt at satire, or if it’s just plain stupid, and the answer is yes.
Mae gets the job as a customer relations specialist, which means she has the same boring job as before, but now she works at a cool place. Annie gives her the tour of the campus grounds in which a lot of the employees seem to live and work. She gets setup at her desk and gets to work on helping clients do, whatever, it’s not important. Mae gets stressed out over not being able to achieve a 100 in customer rating, but it doesn’t matter and won’t ever be brought up again. Annie takes Mae to “Dream Friday,” an event in an auditorium where Tom Hanks unveils to the employees what the next invention is.
The newest invention is a tiny camera that’s extremely cheap to make and can be placed anywhere without anyone knowing. It’s literally just a small camera, those exist, but the way Tom Hanks describes its use is so obviously creepy and weird that red flags start popping up everywhere like it’s the Chinese New Year.
There’s a party where Mae happens to accidentally run into that guy from Star Wars (John Boyega), and he basically says, “Isn’t this place weird and creepy as hell?” Mae is like, “You know, it kind of is.” Then John Boyega disappears and the party’s over. At work The Circle notices Mae doesn’t have a social profile and doesn’t hangout or interact with any other employees. They basically tell her that optional group activities are strongly encouraged and that everyone thinks she’s a hot mysterious new girl. Probably one of the best scenes in the movie, because it’s creepy to the point of being a farce. She moves into the campus, and then her dad has an MS episode while she’s away so she feels really bad.
She goes kayaking and cries.
Her friend Mercer, from the real world, is the single best character in the movie, because Ellar Coltrane gives one of the worst performances I’ve ever seen. Imagine if you took someone out of a high school band class and gave them a part in a movie. That’s Ellar Coltrane in The Circle. When I saw him appear onscreen I said, “Oh nooo,” out loud. If you ever saw Boyhood, this is the kid from that movie.
Mercer is Mr. Anti-technology. The spirit of a lumberjack grandpa in the body of a twenty three year old. He makes antler decorations or something for a living, and thinks The Circle is super weird, and he isn’t about that life. Mae takes a picture of one of his antler chandeliers and posts it to The Circle. Mercer then shows up one day at her office, saying people have been sending him death threats because they think he kills animals. He says he doesn’t want her in his life anymore, which is strange considering this is only the second scene in the film they’ve had together. The best part though is that there are employees standing around them, recording with their phones, yelling things like, “Mercer, why don’t you go and kill some more deer?” The equivalent of a group of high school kids standing in a circle chanting, “Fight! Fight! Fight!”
This is when the movie goes full stupid.
Mae gets called into Tom Hanks office to confront her about something. He says he’s been watching her basically and knows she went into his office earlier in the movie and blah blah blah. He tries to instill the idea that constant surveillance is good for people, and Mae nods her head and says yep, you are right! Then she agrees to wear a camera and have it on at all times, so people from all over the world can watch everything she does, which quite is possibly the most ridiculous and stupid thing I’ve ever heard. Mae also apparently has no sex life, which might actually be the most unbelievable thing in the whole film.
There’s an important scene where a congresswoman makes all her emails and phone class available to the public when they happen. Trying to be transparent in a world where no one trusts a politician.
Mae’s parents get put on her health plan, so The Circle installs cameras into every room of their house. Mae accidentally catches them having sex with a dick pump while wearing her camera, so her parents remove all the camera’s from their house and get mad at her. Her friend Annie starts to slowly morph into a zombie-like creature, resigning herself to no sleep, no makeup, and a fashion wardrobe of hoodies and sweatpants. It doesn’t really matter, she’s not important to the plot at all.
Mae gets invited to a meeting involving all the important people of the company, and they come up with the idea that people should be able to register to vote through The Circle. This is definitely one of the less obviously “evil” things The Circle has thought up, but Mae, our stalwart protagonist, decides that The Circle should force everyone in the U.S. to vote through them. In case you thought she was stupid and annoying before, Mae decides to double-down on it. There must’ve been some point in the film where she decided the company’s idea to put trackers inside babies, and monitor everyone in the world, was actually a completely sane and acceptable thing to do.
BUT I MUST’VE MISSED IT.
The Circle’s newest invention involves being able to track anyone, anywhere, at anytime using a computer/satellite/phone/social media program. If the Fast & Furious franchise thought the idea was ridiculous enough to use, then you know it probably can’t be taken seriously. Apparently this program can locate anyone on Earth despite the multiple possibilities of someone having the same name as the person you’re looking for, but whatever. They demonstrate it by tracking down a wanted felon, and the camera cuts to a lady recording on her phone in a laundromat. She walks up to the wanted felon who is also working there, and the felon starts to run away. About seven people appear out of nowhere and just start to run after her with their phones out in the most hilarious way possible until a cop elbow drops her out of nowhere.
Yay! Successful test! Everyone claps as if this isn’t the scariest use of technology ever. Then they tell Mae to go put in the name of a RANDOM PERSON. The crowd starts chanting her friend Mercer’s name, you know, the guy who doesn’t want to be found? How coincidental is that?
Tom Hanks uses the program to find Mercer. The camera cuts to about ten people pulling up to a random cabin in the woods, all holding their phones out like idiots. Mercer runs out of the cabin, like a celebrity avoiding paparazzi. He hops into his truck, and takes off down the highway with people following him and drones flying alongside.
This scene has to be seen to believed because it is so terrible.
It’s filmed in such a way, that you’d think they were filming a scene for the next Taken movie. Shaky cam galore, quick cuts of speeding cars, Mercer’s face in close up, tense music, and if you’ve ever seen a movie in your life you’ll be thinking one thing: he’s going to die.
What do you know, a drone flies a little too low in front of his truck and he swerves. The truck flies off a bridge and he dies. Do you ever have those uncontrollable laughing episodes, as if you had just become possessed by a Tickle-Me-Elmo? Well that’s what happened to me when his truck swan dived off the bridge like he was trying to place in the Summer Olympics.
Now Mae feels bad, and the small, rational, human part of her brain starts to fight against her brainwashed muppet mind. Maybe, The Circle is bad.
She meets up with John Boyega, and she wants to take Tom Hanks and Patton Oswalt, he’s like the VP or something, down. We haven’t seen Boyega’s character in probably an hour, but now he’s useful to the plot so here he is. They get the records of all of Tom Hanks emails and phone records, and they organize a Dream Friday unveiling.
Mae brings Tom Hanks and Patton Oswalt on stage and says that they will now be wearing a camera at all times, and that their emails will be available to the public for everyone to see. We never find out what exactly their scheme was, but it was illegal, I think. The movie just assumes you know that, whatever it was, it was bad. Mae kind of becomes the CEO now? And says she’s going to make The Circle a more virtuous company for the good of the people? I don’t know.
The movie ends with her kayaking, and a drone flies by her and she smiles. Then it shows a bunch of camera’s watching people all over the world. So yeah, she didn’t change anything about the company and the ending makes no sense.
That’s the end of Technology Is Spooky: The Movie.
I could talk to you about the technical aspects of the film, but I don’t want to. I’ve written too much already.
Now if you wouldn’t mind sharing this on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, MySpace, Email, Tumblr, WebCam site, or any other site, I’d be most thankful.
Don’t watch this unless you can see it for free. It’s as terrible as it sounds.
Overall Score: 1/5 Stars
Emma Watson seems to only be able to portray two emotions, exasperation and happiness. She is almost incapable of anything else. Her acting range could be measured on a protractor.