“Sharing is everything”

The internet and social media have permeated into every aspect of our lives, we share photos of everything, OK maybe not everything, most people wouldn’t want to share on Twitter or Instagram, a photograph of their most recent poop or the bum grape said poop caused….. yet things might just be changing in that direction as companies such as Google, Apple and Amazon gather even more information about our day to day lives such as our lifestyles, social lives, health, and even our eating habits and of course it takes stock how we feel about world issues such as politics and global warming in order to market to us and customise a more personal experience as an online consumer.

And this neatly leads us into the hypothetical domain of the made for Netflix movie The Circle, where Tom Hanks is a demi-god (oh wait, you mean he isn’t one in real life?) and the company he runs called “The Circle” is king of all things tech.

Emma Watson plays Mae, a young woman who by fortune and the right connections lands herself one of the most coveted of junior jobs within the company that is headed by Tom Hanks’ character Eamon Bailey. The Circle can only be described as similar to a massive university campus that employs only the youngest, freshest and brightest of minds. Everyone seems super friendly and interested in Mae’s life and hobbies, which to start with creates some unease in Maes’ mindset. She begins to find the circles’ intrusive work life policies rather disturbing until an accident which nearly claims her life shows her the “benefits” of total transparency and constant observation by The Circle. Mae soon becomes Eamon Baileys’ favourite employee and fame awaits her, consuming every aspect of her life.

The Circle is one of those films that is acted so well with such high profile performances that you begin to get sucked into the world that has been created for you to watch. Bill Paxton puts in an incredible final performance as Maes’ father even though it is a rather small role, Emma Watson is convincingly smug as she climbs the ladders of success in the company and of course Tom Hanks manages to shake off the nicey nice image to play the charming yet rather manipulative and sinister head of company.

The theme of this film is layered into several observations on how society is becoming dependant on technology to run our very existence, How governments and corporations are abusing our data and how transparency is only for the common people, not the elite.

While watching this film I could see the alarm bells ringing, this was a George Orwell style warning for the digital age, the only problem is that this is the now and we have appeared to have ticked agree to the terms and conditions too often without even having a glance at what it would mean.

Although The Circle had this dystopian warning message running through it, there were plenty of other messages, meanings and hopeful prophecies that I simply couldn’t catch first time watching, there were uncomfortable truths splattered throughout but I am glad to say that I was kept guessing throughout as to how the plot would unfold.

This film is thought provoking, encapsulating and extraordinarily well made.

10 out of 10 stars

By Lesley-Ann Clubb