November 2, 2015


Aaron Hann / Mario Miscione, 2015
There a handful of films (Buried, The Man from Earth, 12 Angry Men, Pontypool, Rear Window and a lot of Hitchcock's work for that matter) that take place in a single location. With a limited setting, you need to have a good script powering the narrative. Because you are going to be stuck with these characters for 90 minutes or so, they NEED to be interesting.

Circle takes place in a single room. A bunch of strangers awaken from an mysterious daze and find themselves placed upon red circles like human board game pieces. They realize quite quickly that they are part of an odd social experiment. When one of them steps off of the red circle that they stand on, they die. Not long after they realize that it's not the only way to die in the circle room. Seemingly at random, the ominous eye at the center of the room zaps an innocent victim. But then they determine it's not random. Not only is it not random, they are actually in control of who gets exterminated. What transpires is a dark social experiment where everyone in the room makes a stand for their life, and also has to play executioner to the people standing around them. What starts off as superficial judging turns into moral examinations. The numbers dwindle down and the experiment turns into pure Survivor-esque strategy. It's interesting that you really don't spend a whole lot of time with the poor people in the room. But because of their dilemma, you are forced to learn a lot about them rapidly. Like they are making a stand for their lives, and because of that they reveal themselves much faster than they would over a cup of coffee where they have all of the time in the world. The end result is a really inventive and unique movie, one that feels like an indie hybrid of Saw, the aforementioned 12 Angry Men and the not-often-mentioned Cube.

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