British thriller Closed Circuit
opens with a frightening image that’s become all too familiar: A grid of security camera footage fills the screen, allowing us glimpses of people going about their lives in a London marketplace. Then, suddenly, there’s an explosion, turning all screens gray with dust. Director John Crowley’s paranoid thriller seems ripped from recent headlines, with memories of the National Security Agency scandal and the Boston Marathon bombings evoked within seconds. It’s scary, real-world stuff, seemingly the work of a filmmaker so tapped into current events that he can speak to worldwide fears. Except Crowley’s film doesn’t address anything particularly new or relevant. Sure, Closed Circuit
seems like it’s responding to the NSA scandal and Boston through a fictionalized lens, but—unless it’s the most rapidly completed studio film in history—what we have here is a standard conspiracy film released at just the right time. That’s not to say it lacks merits. As the defense lawyer investigating the circumstances of the attacks, Eric Bana is superb as always. As the suspect’s “special advocate,” Rebecca Hall exudes intelligence and fear in equal measure. It’s part courtroom drama, part detective procedural and part foot-chase flick. Which is to say it’s part riveting, part boring and part suspenseful. What it is not, though, is topical or up-to-date.