SYNOPSIS: When Mae (Emma Watson) is hired to work for the world’s largest and most powerful tech & social media company, she sees it as an opportunity of a lifetime. As she rises through the ranks, she is encouraged by the company’s founder, Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks), to engage in a groundbreaking experiment that pushes the boundaries of privacy, ethics and ultimately her personal freedom. Her participation in the experiment, and every decision she makes begin to affect the lives and future of her friends, family and that of humanity.


The Circle is one of those ‘show a lot but tell very little’ kind of tech thrillers to surface yet again in Hollywood. And this time round we have the prestigious, likeable Tom Hanks and the gorgeous Emma Watson in the leading roles.  

Emma ‘Beauty’ Watson plays Mae Holland who works as a customer service officer at The Circle, a tech company which is a cross between Apple and Google. Founded by Eamon Bailey (Hanks) and Tom Stenton (Patton Oswalt), The Circle is on the verge of pioneering a revolutionary software called SeeChange and Mae is selected as a spokesperson for it. When a mysterious co-worker, Ty Lafitte (John Boyega) reveals that there is something sinister lurking behind the company, Mae realized there are always undesirable consequences following transparency and accountability.

Let’s see, there’s mystery, there’s suspense, there’s intrigue and most of all, it features a solid cast for a movie written by Dave Eggers who based it on his own book. Ironically, none of the intended elements fall nicely into place. Take for example, the character of Ty Lafitte, a whistle-blower sort of character that is awkwardly forgotten for most of the screentime. Secondly, the character of Annie Allerton (Karen Gillian), a good friend of Mae who introduced her to the company is given no explanation why she has a sudden meltdown.

Crucial plot developments are sacrificed for unnecessary scenes featuring Mae kayaking and Bailey giving long speeches. We know Watson and Hanks might drew in the crowds but at least give each of them a more sustantial character to work with. Even the late Bill Paxton and Glenne Headly are roped in to play Mae’s parents, token roles that don’t really advance the already weak story structure.

The Circle has a captivating initial setup, raises a lot of interesting questions throughout the process but fails to answer any of them by the time the credits rolled. We hate to say this but The Circle is one hell of a boring movie that given a choice, we rather watch Emma Watson kayaking along the San Francisco Bay for two hours on a “live” video feed.  


No More Secrets: Completing THE CIRCLE- A four-part making-of documentaries that delved into the production.

The Future Won't Wait: Design and Technologytakes audiences into the design aspect of the movie.

A True Original: Remembering Bill Paxton is a touching 13 minutes feature that is dedicated to the late Bill Paxton who passed away earlier in the year. 


The Dolby Digital 5.1 provides clear dialogue and deliver excellent surround sound and ambience effects. Images on the whole are detailed and sharp for the DVD version.    



Review by Linus Tee