I was somewhat of a big-esque fan-ish of the Cube trilogy, and I take great pleasure in seeing the world-of-sci-fi embracing shapes as their raison d'être. I mean, where was there to go after cubes? God bless the marketing exec who took a look around the room and decided the ever-perplexing circle was what the kids wanted.
Snark aside; the premise of Circle is pretty sound, and the production value surrounding it (wa-hey!) is stylish and smartly designed for what I would assume would be a bottom-of-the-barrel budget. Here we have fifty people abducted by a UFO, where they wake up in a circle (get it?), standing inside individual circles (hence the name), where a Wheel of Fortune-like arrow goes around in a circle (this is a concept movie), killing whomever it stops on. The abductees quickly figure out they can vote for the next victim, and the question is, of course, who will be the last person standing. The kid? The pregnant lady? One of the thirty-four anonymous characters without any lines?
Yes, it’s pretty clear who will be the center (I swear to god I didn’t intend to write that) of the drama, and it’s actually pretty impressive how the writers and directors manage to juggle a good fifteen or so main characters. The actors might not be of Shakespearian quality, but they do a decent job with what I again would assume to be a limited amount of takes due to the movie’s budget. (Apparently Circle took years to film, so getting all these actors on set over that long of a span was no small feat.)
And the bargaining and factions created throughout the whole ordeal is of soap-opera proportions. You’ll find yourself picking sides, rooting for your favorites, and hating yourself for wanting to vote out the annoying eight-year old. (I mean, seriously… Though in the defense of the young actress, it must’ve been hard standing around sobbing for eighty-seven minutes.)
Who is left standing and how the individual gets there is all pretty clever, and the ending is, humongous flaw of logic aside, darkly funny.
Really, I like this movie. It’s obviously inspired by the original Cube, as more movies should be. Flawed-but-fun sci-fi thrillers is what the world needs more of, and hopefully Circle will have a sequel, one they logically should name and shape after Squircle.
PS! Circle, while not a Netflix exclusive, despite what its placement would indicate, went straight to VOD mid-October. I’m guessing this is what we’ll see a whole lot more of for these kind of movies, which is awesome. Now I never have to leave the house again!