I’m back with another Grampy suggestion special! I’ve had to take them with a pinch of salt lately after one fateful movie night where he shunned Everest in favour of The Last Witch Hunter...but I couldn’t resist the sound of this latest suggestion.
Circle (2015) is a small, low budget movie which opens with 50 strangers awakening to find themselves all stood on circles, forming a large circle, in an even larger circular room. Notice the theme? Every 1-2 minutes, someone in the circle is executed by an electrical surge from the centre of the room. It seemingly chooses its victims at random, but the group soon realise that they have the power to choose who is sent to their death, by voting in secret.
From there, the movie descends into chaos as leaders attempt to emerge to decide who in the group should die first. Within the group are people from all ages, races, religions, classes, professions, and it doesn’t take long before personal prejudices come into play. Attempts to not vote at all fail, attempts to all vote one person to the left or right fail, and so the group are forced to make terrible decisions. It really does make you wonder what you would do in that situation yourself. Honestly, as much as I’d like to think I’d be a brave soul who would keep a level head, I would probably hop off my circle and end it all on my own terms! That’s a bit dark when I think about it, ha.
This movie is definitely not for everyone, I accept that. As I said, it’s a small budget kind of movie. There are no faces here I recognised from other movies, and the entirety of the movie takes place within the circular room. It’s very narrative-driven, which admittedly is something I would normally struggle with, but I was so drawn into the conversation, wondering who was going to go next, who was going to survive at the end, how this group of people got here in the first place, and what on earth would happen when just one person was left. Circle is a short movie anyway with a runtime of 87 minutes, but the time flew by much quicker.
It’s not a perfect movie by any means. You have to question how level headed some of the characters actually are. They freak out to begin with, but stay quite calm for the rest of the time. It definitely needed a few characters having a panic attack or simply sat in their circle sobbing relentlessly to feel slightly more real. The reveal of who/what is behind the whole situation also felt a bit short, and didn’t have much of a ‘wow’ factor. I can forgive that though, because the whole focus of the movie is the characters, and how they make these decisions.
If I could describe it in simpler terms, I’d say that Circle is like 12 Angry Men on crack. The movie 12 Angry Men that is, not 12 actual men who are angry and...you get what I mean. Sorry to compare it to such a legendary movie, but that’s honestly the first thing that came into my head. All I can say is, if Circle sounds like something you think you’d enjoy, give it a try! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.