Saturday, August 31, 2013

Closed Circuit (Rhoades)

“Closed Circuit”
May Be More Real Than You Think

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

We know NSA’s listening to our cell phones and reading our emails. The DIA can capture our online keystrokes. There’s rumored technology that allows our televisions to watch us. Closed circuit TVs monitor us at tollbooths, on street corners, in banks, and goodness knows where else.
A new political thriller flirts with that invasive concept. Aptly titled “Closed Circuit,” it tells us about two lawyers -- ex-lovers, of course -- who take the case of an accused terrorist. 

Because the government plans to use classified evidence to prosecute the terrorist, the attorney general appoints a special advocate to review the material and decide what the defense attorney can see. When a new attorney gets assigned to the case, it turns out to be the special advocate’s ex.

Problem enough. But as they face one of the most high-profile trials in British history, the pair uncovers evidence of a possible British Secret Service cover up. It’s one thing to defend an enemy of the state; another to accuse the state itself. That could put both their lives on the line.

Eric Bana (“Munich,” “The Time Traveler’s Wife”) and Rebecca Hall (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” “Iron Man 3”) show good chemistry as the two barristers. Julia Stiles (the “Bourne” thrillers, TV’s “Dexter”) and Jim Broadbent (the “Harry Potter” fantasies, “Topsy-Turvy”) add to the deceits.

“Closed Circuit” is now playing at the Tropic Cinema. The movie’s trailer tells you it’s brought to you by the producers of “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.”

With a script by Steven Knight (“Eastern Promises,” “Dirty Pretty Things”), you can count on white-knuckle action. “The original notion was the change in the way important cases were defended. Whereby a defense in a terrorism case could be given to defense counselors, but they weren’t allowed to speak to each other or socialize. So I thought it would be an interesting situation if the two of them were having an affair. You would have two defense lawyers, where one would know the secret and the other wouldn’t. But then increasingly as events unfold, it became more and more about government surveillance, how much the government knows because this is obviously a secret between these two people.”

The trick to writing a great thriller? “Rather than taking it out that the world is being destroyed by an evil genius, make it reality,” smiles Knight. 

One nervous moviegoer says it’s “an exciting legal thriller that makes you wonder whether there may be something about those conspiracy theories that we have all heard since 9/11.”

Uh-oh. I’m turning off the TV and shutting my computer.

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