The recent revelations about government
snooping in the communications of private citizens serve as a timely trigger
for a movie like “Closed Circuit,” which is, at heart, a cautionary tale.
Beware those who would take away your privacy in the name of protecting
your freedom. The neo-Fascists are
actually more of an insidious threat than the old-style terrorists.
And, they have better access.
Martin Rose (Eric Bana) is a
barrister whose personal life is kind of a mess.
He’s going through a very acrimonious divorce, and has apparently
just broken up with the toxic girlfriend who may have contributed to the
breakdown of his marriage. He feels
guilty about disrupting the life of his son. He’s
now given to bouts of moody introspection; long solitary sculling sessions on
the River Thames (you mean they would actually let him that close to the
He sourpuss persona and “loser”
stink make him the perfect patsy for a government cover-up.
It seems that MI5 had “turned” a former terrorist into a double
agent, and eagerly awaited the results of his new association with another
terrorist group, to see if he could provide names, and information of bombings
before they happened.
But the best laid plans ‘oft go
awry……In response to a suicide bombing, their “insider” is arrested by
police who had tracked his previous involvement, and gleefully presented their
prize catch as the “mastermind” of the latest operation.
Now this is embarrassing.
The spy folks, having failed to prevent their double agent’s arrest,
now have to try to secure the most bumbling defense they can, and keep the
proceedings secret “in the interests of national security.”
So our despondent Mr. Rose is recruited, along with, quite
intentionally, his ex-girlfriend, Claudia Simmons-Howe (Rebecca Hall), who,
conveniently, can’t communicate with each other about the case (something
obscure about their having different legal functions).
And all the evidence must be kept secret, and argued privately only
before a selected judge. The
government, assuming it’s smarter than everyone else, figures that even if
the two screw-ups somehow stumble on something, they can still be castigated
later for failing to disclose their previous relationship, after both had
taken solemn oaths that neither had any personal connection with any of the
principals. A sticky wicket, what?
Not surprisingly, our manipulated
anti-heroes are more resourceful than anyone thought they could be.
They have to be, because it’s a dangerous game of subterfuge
they’re playing, and the forces who are “players” consider them to be
Sufficiently complex to excite the
imagination, but not so obtuse that we can’t figure out what’s happening,
“Closed Circuit” is a surprisingly attractive offering for those who would
like a break from CGI megalomania, and just revel in a pretty good story.
It’s British, but the point is obvious, even from over here across
the Pond, which is getting smaller all the time.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Minister, St.
Stephen’s Presbyterian Church,