Irresponsible filmmaking with technology as a reductive bad guy

Before I can talk about The Circle we need to go back to 2010 and the release of The Social Network. That film is considered a modern classic not just because it is exquisitely directed, but also because it is one of the very few films in the history of cinema to get the technology and computers side of things in the business world right.

Emma Watson and Tom Hanks star in The Circle

Secondly we need to look at the career graph of Emma Watson — she’s a person who has benefited from the Harry Potter franchise, which, to be frank, was successful despite her presence and not because of it. Every other film she has been a part of showcased her rather dull screen presence and limited acting range, including in last month’s Beauty and the Beast.

The reason why I bring both those topics up is because both of those things latch on to The Circle in a parasitic fashion, bringing a potentially good film down to becoming a mostly boring, but sometimes unintentionally funny film. It’s one of those films that are so bad you won’t believe it until you see it for yourself. It’s all the more shocking considering it is directed by James Ponsoldt, whose previous three films Smashed, The Spectacular Now and The End of the Tour are extremely well made.

In The Circle, we follow Mae (Watson), who secures a dream job at the titular Google-like firm which follows a dystopian outlook towards how humans should behave and how technology should force its hand on people. It also inculcates the belief that humans don’t really deserve privacy, and that constant surveillance should be the cornerstone of modern life. Mae tries her best to adjust to these axioms but as she goes further down the rabbit hole she discovers her company bosses (Tom Hanks, Patton Oswalt) may be taking things too far with the power their technology wields.

On paper that’s a really interesting story and given the current state of things with Facebook, Apple, Google and Uber being constantly in the news for…

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