‘Closed Circuit,’ reviewed by Marshall Fine


The paranoia that a terrorist attack – and the resultant media clusterpluck – creates is palpable. Don’t believe it? Hello – the Patriot Act? An overreaching NSA?

So John Crowley’s “Closed Circuit,” arriving in the wake of the Bradley Manning decision and the ongoing Edward Snowden affair, is more than timely: It’s the most chilling film of the year, more frightening than any horror film because it seems so real.

Written by Steven Knight (“Eastern Promises”), “Closed Circuit” begins with a bombing in a London marketplace: a truck that explodes killing dozens. Almost immediately, London police arrest a suspect, an Arab immigrant with ties to the bomb factory where the explosive was constructed and to the truck that exploded.

But there’s a catch: This case is considered so potentially critical to national security that the British government invokes special procedures. There is sensitive, top-secret evidence against the defendant, Farroukh (Dennis Moschitto), which is not available to his court-appointed defense attorney, Martin Rose (Eric Bana). Rather, another court-appointed attorney, Claudia Simmons-Howe (Rebecca Hall), will be allowed to review the material and argue in court about which of it can be seen by Rose and used in defending his client.

Just to make things difficult, Rose and Simmons-Howe aren’t allowed to communicate with each other, again in the interest of national security. And oh, by the way, the two of them are antagonistic former lovers whose affair was one reason Rose’s marriage collapsed.

This review continues on my website.

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