In a massive, mysterious chamber, fifty strangers awaken to find themselves trapped with no memory of how they got there. Every two minutes, one of them must die… Executed by an electrical pulse generated from a source within the chamber. At first the attacks seem random, but, soon the strangers realize that they, as a group, have the power to decide who will be the next to be killed: by the power of the vote. Mob mentality at its finest hour. A chance to control the machine. How will they choose who deserves to die? What happens when there’s only one person left? “Circle” is a film about humanity. How we value one another and how people react when they are forced to make decisions under the worst possible circumstances. It’s a film that speaks to the very core of what makes us human – Who we are, what we believe and ultimately, the lengths we will go to in which to save ourselves.
User Reviews: There are several movies that have done this sort of thing before. Put a cross section of society in an isolated situation (Desert Island, Hostile Planet, Booby Trapped Death Cube, Reality TV Show etc.), and observe their behaviours to see who is a team player, and who is a selfish aback-stabber.
Circle reminded me of a more extreme version of the TV game show ‘The Weakest Link’. Only there is 50 people involved, and each is voting for their own life.
It’s a neat premise on paper, but ultimately, the movie doesn’t really go anywhere with it.
As a social commentary, we are presented with a broad cross-section of some very unpleasant stereotypes across the spectrum. Nothing was spared, whether race, gender, age, disability, sexuality, the movie provided some very sloppy examples of stereotyping & discrimination.
As a sci-fi movie, there is no character development at all. The movie only has two ongoing questions and they are ‘Who will everyone vote for next?" and "Why?". The first question is answered every few minutes, and the second answer seems to be "Isn’t it obvious?". – There is a third question "What the hell is going on?" and to its credit, the movie does not have an ambiguous ending. It does actually answer that question, but the answer feels like a tacked-on epilogue that doesn’t really tie all the loose ends.
All in all, I found myself getting a bit bored & impatient with the movie to start going somewhere. I continued watching a bunch of people squabble over strategic voting and each round became more telegraphed. Even the ‘twist’ final rounds were predictable.
There are much better socially based sci-fi movies around The Cube & The Exam, for example, allowed for some character development, and for moral ambiguity.
Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this film as an in-depth moral commentary about humanity, but if you are into the whole ‘watching people stab others in the back’ thing, then this will kill an hour or so.