When Mae (Emma Watson) is hired to work for the world's largest and most powerful tech and social media company, she sees it as an opportunity of a lifetime. As she rises through the ranks, she is encouraged by the company's founder, Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks), to engage in a groundbreaking experiment that pushes the boundaries of privacy, ethics and ultimately her personal freedom. Her participation in the experiment, and every decision she makes, begin to affect the lives and future of her friends, family in many unexpected ways.
The Circle should be a gripping edge of the seat thriller. It should begin conversations about the power of technology and social networking in our lives. It should make us revel in the performances of a wonderful ensemble cast. Sadly none of these things happen as The Circle never fully executes it's intentions.
Parts of the story feel like they have gone missing. Mae's rise through the company ranks is never fully explained and yet is vital to the story. She jumps from data entry to presentation focal point without any real journey narrative being offered.
Other elements of the story are equally underplayed, John Boyega's cypher/disgruntled employee character whose desire to disrupt The Circle never gets off the ground and potential physical interest in Mae is never more than hinted at.
This inexplicable story telling is confounding and frustrating as a potentially great story lives within this film and tragically may only exist on a cutting room floor.
Momentary glances of what might have been kept my interest in the film alive. Work colleagues discussing Mae's weekend kayaking journey and not being able to find it on any of her social media platforms is comedic and yet mildly sinister, a momentary comment on the public display of all aspects of our lives online. However, no sooner has this moment raised its head than it is quickly dismissed/ignored. Likewise, the notion of Mae wearing a small personal camera 24/7 in the interest of her life being 'fully transparent' is interesting but all too quickly departs.
The Circle's poor box office takings in America advanced the films path to Netflix in the UK and, while the cast may peak your interest, ultimately the woeful narrative structure will leave you more frustrated than a forgotten password to your favourite social media platform.