A frantic young woman begs a stranger to help save her marked husband, not realizing that the stranger is the hit man hired to kill him. Experimental digital movie shot entirely in one take and in real time.
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Stan is a hit man hired by the mobster Dad to kill Rick, the husband of Jay. While waiting for his final instructions from Dad in a low budget hotel, Stan is visited by Jay, who begs for the life of Rick. He breaks his own rules and explains that only Dad may break his contract, and Jay decides to visit Dad in his night-club to claim for Rick's life. After meeting Dad, Jay comes back home to Rick, when secrets are disclosed. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
I wasn't sure what to expect from this film, so I just went into it hoping for an enjoyable thriller. The Circle actually gets off to a fairly intriguing start, as we are introduced to the main characters - Stan, a hit man and Jay; the wife of the man he was hired to kill. The first half of the film plays out pretty much like a straight thriller as we watch the pair interact and end up getting themselves into a tricky situation; but then it would seem that the writer started experimenting with some strange hallucinogenic drugs as the film descends into the surreal, and rather than being interesting; it's mostly ridiculous - even the end twist (which is fairly imaginative) isn't enough to save what should have been a straight thriller. The central focus of the plot is on Jay and how she tries to persuade the hit man to not kill her husband. Obviously even going to see him puts her in a compromising position; but strangely it does him also.
The plot is fairly thin, and the focus is mainly on the characters. However, they're really not all that interesting; Scott Cohen is completely one-note as the hit man, while the usually solid Angela Bettis overacts to such an extend that I found myself feeling embarrassed for her at times. Whatever the director was trying to achieve with the characters really doesn't come off. There are a couple of interesting scenes; the best one being a lesbian(ish) sequence between Bettis and a stripper. The surreal elements of the film don't feel right considering the build up to them; I got the impression that the writer-director didn't really know where to take the film after the initial plot was set out, though maybe he always had the idea for where the film was going and the plot is the filler - either way, The Circle is one disjointed movie. Overall, I can't say that this film is without its merits - there are a few, but really I'd just call it a failed experiment.
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