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Mae joins The Circle (media giant) as a low-level employee. A small act of rebellion throws her up the corporate ladder and she’s soon in the driver’s seat, navigating the company’s biggest, riskiest plans involving internet privacy.

“The Circle” is a warning advisory Big Brother cyber thriller combining plots from “The Net” (1995), “The Truman Show” (1998), “Minority Report”, “The Social Network” to the recent “Nerve” and from a slew of Facebook-themed horror movies. We live in the digital age of out of the box, plugged in gadgets can be used as two-way a mirror. Whether we’re freely making our lives accessible to family, friends and strangers, we’re giving our privacy away without knowing what might happen.

Emma Watson (hides her accent well) plays a sweet, intelligent and determined Mae, who gets a entry-level job with “The Circle”, a huge and power hungry data-collecting and info-sharing company.

Mae attends a corporate gathering called

“Dream Friday,” everyone’s in an on-site auditorium to take in the wisdom of The Circle’s co-founder, Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks), a Steve Jobs type alluring his worshipful flock with his warm, self- condemning humor and his grand visions. Eamon reveals a satellite connected camera the size of a small pebble that will cost less than pair of jeans he’s sporting. Millions upon millions of these tiny cameras will placed in every spot in the world, without any government’s permission.

Yet another step in The Circle’s grand plan for total global transparency, everyone will always be under observation and wouldn’t the world be a better place without secrets of any kind?

In one of the film’s more efficiently unnerving scenes, two disturbingly lively Circle managers confront Mae after her first week on the job and scold her for not participating in “non-mandatory” late night and weekend company activities customized to her personal life. I’m referring to her hobby of kayaking and her father Vinnie’s (the late Bill Paxton in his final film role) MS. Mae goes from joking about drinking the company Kool-Aid to guzzling it, with out hesitation. She’s so emotionally strained its almost hard to tell if she’s playing along or messing with them  as she buys into The Circle’s ever intrusive game plan and becomes a rising star, especially after she agrees to wear a body cam 24/7 and share every detail of her life with anyone who has joined The Circle.

John Boyega (Finn in “Star Wars”) plays Ty, the inventor of The Circle’s technology, who keeps showing up at the most fitting times to act as Mae’s conscience. What’s really odd no one seems to notice him at all, he’s like a ghost.

Patton Oswalt is Eamon’s side hand as The Circle’s COO. Karen Gillan plays Mae’s best friend Annie, whose purpose is obvious the first time she appears onscreen. While I love Tom Hanks the screenplay doesn’t give away anything about Bailey’s motivations.

“The Circle” has an interesting premise and a stellar cast but even with that going for it, it seems lost in cyber space. Perhaps a more refined script and a more stable direction it would have faired better.

Rated PG-13 for a sexual situation, brief strong language and some thematic elements including drug use

  • I watched this on VidAngel there are a couple F bombs and A character’s married parents are seen in bed over a video camera (clothed)

I give it a C-


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