Circus (2000) Poster


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Had it's moments..but not enough to keep me interested.
CharltonBoy25 April 2002
Over the last few years the British film industry has made countless films like Circus , some brilliant some not so brilliant. Circus comes under the " Not so brilliant" catagory .The problem with this movie is that it tries to be far to clever for it's own good, which leaves the viewer bemused by the plot and in the end not caring what ,or if there is a final twist. The acting is good by most of the cast.John Hannah is convincing as a con man and Eddie Izzard is fantastic as the loan shark (why couldnt we se more of him?)but Brian Conley is not so convincing as the gangland boss. Every time he grimaces and tries to look nasty he looks like he is about to start laughing. Which is what you might do when you enter the circus for an hour and a half. 5 out of 10
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Poor entrant into the British Gangster drama
Matt Walsh18 September 2006
Entertaining, but not in the same satisfying way as 'Snatch', 'Lock Stock & 2 Smoking Barrels' or '7ayer Cake'. I love twists, but I can only suspend my disbelief so far.

A hallmark of this genre (invented by Tarrantino?) is to have people with incongruous-to-gangster traits...I guess these connect the audience to otherwise abhorrent killers/thieves. In this regard they were really trying a bit too hard...the bookie Troy who expresses himself with 80s pop songs...the tender yet brutal Moose. To me it seems like these were the result of an engineered effort to create 'Pulp Fiction-' or 'LS&2SB-' like characters.

But I did like Leo's character.
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Ladies and gentlemen... we present in the centre ring... a mess.
Victor Field11 October 2002
"Circus" was barely released in cinemas even in Britain and, from what I understand, skipped US cinemas despite its Columbia backing. It's an okay watch for cable at 3 a.m. (which, interestingly enough, is when I watched it), but that's about it.

The movie's scuppered by the ludicrous casting of comedian Brian Conley as a gangster who we see taking a bite of a man's ear in the beginning; he comes off as too playground-villainous to take seriously, and the rest of the movie is just as plausible (tip: do not go and attack and/or threaten people when there are witnesses around, a piece of advice ignored TWICE in the course of the movie). David Logan's script needed some stronger direction and a bit of restraint, instead of piling double-cross upon double-cross until it's soon hard to tell just what the hell's going on, culminating in an "Oh-for-God's-sake!" ending.

"Circus" is diverting enough, but a waste of John Hannah, a bigger waste of Fred Ward, something of a waste of Amanda Donohoe, and an absolutely criminal waste of Famke Janssen (who is not only super-fit but, unlike Conley, actually CAN be convincingly tough - it's impossible to believe she appeared in both this and "X-Men" in 2000 ... then again, she did do "House on Haunted Hill"). What she was doing in this movie we can only speculate; did she fancy a trip to Brighton? Or is she a secret fan of "Rebus"? Or "The Brian Conley Show"?

And one more piece of advice - don't go mentioning "The Sweet Smell Of Success" in your movie, unless you really want to draw unfair comparisons. Mind you, it's preferable to actually going to a circus; I never liked the things.
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A pretty good caper movie
LondonOnMyMind4 March 2004
Circus is a good caper flick. It is as unpretentious as its small-time crook characters, and should be treated as such. It is good fun, with some pretty hilarious dialogue.

Janssen and Hannah make a good couple. I have read some reviews that said they were not believable; I disagree. I actually thought they were a cute couple, and that they shared a kind of playful chemistry. The supporting players were also very good, particularly Stormare and Izzard.

Many people have complained about this movie's numerous twists and turns. However, I do not think the outcome would have been the same without them. Also, personally, I like to be surprised.
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it's not the twists that make this film bad
fizher9 September 2001
I think that saying this film has too many is not what makes this film bad. The twists are not the problem of the film. The story is quite clever and could have been very cool if filmed right. The major problems why everyone is complaining about the twists in the film is that the film is just not fascinating enough to make people follow them. The film is badly shot (at least in comparison to its genre brother Lock, Stock). Worse: the characters are (although often well acted) just plain flat. The characters don't have enough time to be introduced well enough to let the viewer get involved with a single one of them, let alone understand them. Oh, and the locations are just terrible: locations-person (I didn't bother to watch the credits for your name) - get another job (maybe still photography or interior design)
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I couldn't turn it off
lynda-eagan6 September 2002
Last night I had trouble sleeping so I came down and turned on the movie channels. I had happened upon 'Circus' and although at first it had all the hallmarks of a British 'B' rate/made for TV film I soon got caught up in the story. The cast was fascinating - so many unrelated talents - how could they be stitched together? Magically, as it happened. I pride myself in seeing the twists coming but I couldn't keep up with this one. Twists like a corkscrew! I couldn't turn it off - so much for my insomnia. I can't wait to watch it again at a more civilised hour.
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sophomoric brit-crime twaddle
themansfield55 June 2004
If you've seen any other sort of halfway decent crime movie, your patience might be put to the test by "Circus". If you are more than halfway sober or awake, its little derivative winks of 'intelligence' might actually appear half-assed and grating. I'm a fan of both John Hannah and Eddie Izzard, but neither actor can rescue this made-for-TV-grade formulaic crap-pile. And the 'intelligent' bit of that formula is the one that most grates on me: when the films throws out references to Tarantino, musical theatre, The Sweet Smell of Success, etc.(naming a character Elmo Somerset? Good lord), it's insulting. And when the twists are revealed, I hardly feel that the makers of Circus are knowing masterminds. They blindly stumbled through this movie, hoping that they could pull this foolish scam of a movie off.
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Intelligent drama
lje3267711 October 2003
"Circus" is an intricate tale of a married couple who are scam artists. The couple get involved with a Scottish gangster who begins to control the husband, Leo. As the story progresses the couple works desperately to release themselves from the grip of the gangster. I had great sympathy for the couple, but at the same time unsympathetic about the fact that they had gotten themselves into the mess. I was riveted by the story and was extremely satisfied with the ending.

Definitely recommended.
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nasty film
winner554 October 2007
Would somebody please explain why anybody would want to make a "British neo-noir" crime film with a cast almost entirely American? The accents spoken in this film are bloody awful! But entirely in keeping with the performances, which are so wooden, one fears to strike a match for setting the cast on fire.

Really, what kind of disgusting, moronic, cynical crud is this? Even neo-noir films have some character you either feel for or want to feel for, even if they're wretched and doomed; they at least have some decency to them, some sense that what they've done is wrong, or that a seemingly good plan has gone wrong, and that somehow they're stuck with the responsibility for it.

Not in this stanky stew. These characters are putrid, betraying each other, themselves, and the audience.

Also, note that they are low-lives - all right, nothing wrong with that - except that they seem to be living a life of luxury. For a film supposedly about desperate petty thieves, the keynote here is - ennui. It's all so terribly dull and dross, doncha know. So let's just rip some people off or maybe murder them, and go get laid in a luxury hotel. What ambition!

Gooping this whole mess to some bottom of swampy muck are: boringly uneven pacing; predictable 'action' sequences that aren't; banal and incoherent set-design; made-for-bad-TV camera-work and editing; forgettable score; and an entire lack of any imagination or innovation in production and direction.

Wholly unbelievable, unlikeable, and for less dedicated movie watchers(or masochists) like myself, utterly unwatchable.

There are other nasty things I would like to say about this nasty film, but they wouldn't print them here. Suffice it to say, you can probably find something more useful to do with your time than watch this film - just about anything, in fact.
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A Circus with no cruelty to animals
boyinflares17 June 2005
This movie isn't the sort of movie i would ordinarily watch, but with the brilliant and beautiful Famke Janssen, i had to give it a go. It was quite cool. Lots of characters, lots of sub-plots and goings-ons made it a bit hard to keep up in the first part of the film. Famke was of course excellent, the most superb performance of the cast. John Hannah, Fred Ward and Amanda Donohoe were great, Eddie Izzard was just annnoying. Coloufull settings and classy costuming was a plus, and Famke looked cool with a blonde wig. The film got good when all the double-crossing and back stabbing started coming into play, it was fun trying to work out who was really working with who, and who was against who. A good film to watch, but it requires some attention paid to it, so you would have to be in the mood.
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