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Rated 2.99 stars
by 280 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Where's the Thrill?
by Diana Saenger

After watching so many explosive, letís-kill-as-many-as-we-can movies this year, I was ready for a good mystery -- and John Crowleyís Closed Circuit seemed promising. Unfortunately, just taking a rest in the dark, quiet theater seemed more rewarding than this international suspense thriller.

The film takes place in London and begins with delivery trucks coming and going at a busy outdoor market place. One driver ignores a warning from a man in the crowd that heís too close to the merchandise. Seconds later the truck explodes and many die.

Farroukh Erdogan (Denis Moschitto) is the Turkish terrorist bomber accused of the action. That the English legal system is very different than ours becomes painfully clear in this drawn-out, boring plot.

The defendant is given a solicitor and barrister (not a lawyer as we call them). However, because the government has evidence so secret that neither the solicitor nor barrister will see it, Erdogan is assigned a special advocate -- actually, two of them.

What the officials donít know involves the fact that the advocates, Claudia Simmons-Howe (Rebecca Hall) and Martin (Eric Bana) are former lovers. They are not allowed to speak to each other or share information as both try to clear this man of the bombing. Talk about confusing!

When Claudia uncovers some key information that might clear Erdogan, she tries to maintain the stipulations of not conferring with Martin. Yet, even though thereís as much chemistry between the two as an ice cube and a blow dryer, they do secretly get together often and question their relationship.

If all this isnít enough of a maze to get through, thereís another element blurring the plot even more. Itís the Attorney General (Jim Broadbent) who assigned the advocates to the case. His instructions are more warnings than advice -- and soon have Martin and Claudia in fear of their own lives. Julia Stiles, playing a New York Times reporter, seems thrown in for name talent only. Her character never looks like she fits in this plot.

The idea for Closed Circuit might have made a better movie if not for a humdrum script and direction that clearly missed the mark. The talents of Bana, Hall and Stiles are clearly wasted. There isnít one minute of Claudia and Martinís quiet face-to-face meeting when I believed they were ever romantically involved. Stilesí character gets thrown into the middle of the film and never makes an impact. The only one delivering any kind of intrigue in Closed Circuit is Broadbent. But one interesting character does not make a movie, and this one is a real yawner.   

(Released by Focus Features  and rated "R" for language and brief violence.)

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