“Nothing to see.” “Nothing to look at. Which is different.”
So says Eric Bana’s character in response to a colleague early on in the newly-released “Closed Circuit,” as they survey the wreckage of an alleged terror attack in the U.K.
That credo applies to the film itself, which excels when it trusts the audience to come to the same conclusions as its characters.
Without giving too much away, the film follows two British lawyers, Martin (Bana) and Claudia (Rebecca Hall, “Iron Man 3”), who are involved in defending the suspect arrested in the aforementioned attack in London.
While the pair, whose past relationship is touched on in a unique way that never threatens to overshadow the real terror taking place, soon finds themselves involved in a conspiracy larger than they could have imagined, the film feels much more emotional and intimate than the average thriller.
Instead of car chases and shootouts, the movie revels in the quieter moments, using a pained expression, a pair of clenched hands or a twitch of the cheek to add dimension to the characters.
Not that the film doesn’t also certainly have explosive moments – as it does – quite literally.
Yet “Closed Circuit” is at its best when it is showing rather than telling, something director John Crowley does quite well.
His penchant for mixing aerial shots, surveillance footage and tight shots of faces adds to the films a sense of paranoia, showing that not only are they watching your every move, but they know what you’re thinking as well.
At times, the forces conspiring against the leads can come off as a bit cartoonish, but the film’s greatest feat is creating two flawed, realistic characters amidst all the chaos.
“Closed Circuit” also stars Jim Broadbent (“Cloud Atlas”), Ciaran Hinds (“Political Animals”) and Julia Stiles, the latter in a disappointingly brief role as an American journalist.