Eric Bana stars as Martin Rose – a British barrister appointed to defend the most infamous terrorist in England’s history. The public sentiment is heavily against him, and the case is even more complicated because the government plans to use Top Secret evidence against the accused, so Top Secret and of such importance to national security a specially designated defense representative, Claudia Simmons-Howe (Rebecca Hall), will hear it, participate in the defense in a closed session and never reveal it to Martin (Oh, those crazy Brits).
They aren’t even supposed to know each other or talk at all about what each one knows, while defending the same man, but, that might be a bit complicated, since Martin and Claudia used to do the horizontal mambo … knock boots … know each other sexually.
The case is hugely high profile, the last defense counsel committed suicide, and Martin and Claudia are starting to suspect something is quite amiss with the whole mess.
What is the evidence that must be hidden?
Who can be trusted?
Think of Closed Circuit as Michael Clayton-lite. It’s a decent, sometimes taught courtroom thriller and drama that keeps you engaged, but never truly shocks and awes.
Writer Steven Knight and director John Crowley have all of the elements present for a great movie of this sort, but none of it feels all that developed or serving a purpose, as if the elements (or whiffs of the elements) will satisfy us. For example, we get glimpses of Martin’s personal life and struggles, but none of it is that important to the story or understanding these characters.
We get plenty of twists and turns moving toward a big revelation, but the drama isn’t as stunning as one might think (or hope), so Closed Circuit tries to get us all wrapped up in the consequences of such a revelation, but it’s not that surprising. It’s a straight forward, linear story where we don’t get to mull much of the action or plot as we speed from melodrama to melodrama.
Again, Closed Circuit is still OK. Bana is a strong leading man who doesn’t have all that much to do acting-wise, and everything seems overly focused on the relationship between Martin and Claudia instead of more on the case, which has some good twists to it, which increases the danger level by 10.
Closed Circuit is rated R for language and brief violence