A dewy-eyed millennial (Emma Watson) lands a dream job at a Silicon Valley mega-tech called The Circle (another name might be MicroAppleGoogInstaTweetChatBook), run by an affable Steve Jobs clone (Tom Hanks) who may or may not have a more sinister side.
She’s initially thrilled by her job in the “Customer Experience” division, but becomes increasingly uneasy when the company rolls out a buttonhole camera with some clear potential privacy issues.
Watson puts in a bland, one-note performance, but then her character is criminally underwritten. The other characters are mostly unconvincing.
The movie plays to modern fears about the erosion of privacy in our increasingly watched and recorded society, and that’s fine. But it does this with an astounding lack of subtlety that saps any real tension.
This meandering, moralistic melodrama lacks any real emotional or narrative impact. It’s smug and condescending and thinks it’s way more important than it really is.
To be fair, the film, by James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now), presents both sides of the privacy/connectivity aspects of new technologies, but it never bothers to dig even a little under the surface. The frustratingly weak, cop-out ending is its biggest fault. Blink and you’ll miss it. It’s like they ran out of money. (110 min)