A young Mae (Emma Watson – Beauty and the Beast, Regression) lands her dream job, through the help of her best friend Annie (Karen Gillan – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Guardians of the Galaxy), at a powerful tech company called the Circle, run by the super smooth Bailey (Tom Hanks – Inferno, Sully). As she progresses through the ranks, fellow employee Ty (John Boyega – Star Wars: The Force Awakens) shows her an agenda that will affect the lives of all of humanity.
With well over the billion member mark, social media today is a prolific force to be reckoned with. The Circle brings to the fore many of the potential issues that we might encounter, should we as a whole, decide to put our entire lives online, and in the hands of someone else. Yet much of the way the film chooses to tackle this issue, is through suggestion, leaving the bulk of questioning to be done by the viewer themselves, instead of integrating these ideas into a story.
While The Circle has a good many talented actors, the story drags. It is slow to start, and then just as you think things are about to get interesting, the story is over. This is a tad disappointing, leaving one feeling cheated.
A great concept, plenty of food for thought, and a talented cast, but just not the right mix, and perhaps a failure in direction, leading to a slightly below par story. The film is engrossing merely due to the acting talents of Watson and Hanks. Boyega is totally underutilised, as is Gillan. A clear case of what could have been.
Overall, the disc is of a decent technical quality, though lacking in any sort of bonus features. Enjoyment of the main feature itself though, is open to debate, and viewer preference.
The Circle is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.
Video is encoded at a slightly lower than average bitrate, however there are no visible artefacts on-screen, nor any colour bleed, save for the lower edge of frame being barely perceptible.
The film does have an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, meaning that even on a 16:9 screen, it is still letterboxed. This might account in part to the need for a lower bitrate.
Darker scenes still maintain detail, while in other scenes, colour are vibrant when needed.
Viewers with the relevant hardware or software could scale up to a larger, or higher resolution screen, should they wish.
Audio is encoded at a high average bitrate, and presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. There is a stereo 2.0 downmix available too.
Dialogue is clear via the centre speaker, with the weight of the soundtrack carried via the front channels. A decent amount of use is made of the surrounds to expand the on-screen world, and immerse the viewer in the scene.
Navigation is simple, and easy to follow. The main menu has text links to play the main feature, access the chapter sub-menu, and the audio selection sub-menu. The menu has a static background image, with accompanying music.
The chapter sub-menus also each have a static background, with accompanying music, and four small, colour, motion thumbnails for a total of twelve chapters.
The audio selection sub-menu has options to choose between the 5.1 surround mix and the 2.0 stereo mix.
There are no bonus features on the disc, other than trailers for First Kill, Atomic Blonde, and the game PES2018. While these can be skipped, and fast-forwarded individually, they can not be accessed again via the disc menu.