CLOSED CIRCUIT (PG13)
96 minutes/ 3.5/5
The story: The crowded Borough market in London is bombed and Farroukh Erdogan (Denis Moschitto) is arrested as the primary suspect. After his first lawyer dies, Martin Rose (Eric Bana) and Claudia Simmons-Howe (Rebecca Hall) are picked to represent Farroukh in court. The more they delve into it, the less straightforward the case seems.
The argument that unpleasant things have to be done in the name of safety and security is one that cannot be dismissed easily. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the United States, this is an issue that has been wrestled with on shows such as the ongoing television drama Homeland.
In this film, the United Kingdom's MI5 agency is peopled by such a shady bunch that the idea of them given carte blanche to do whatever they need to in the name of national security is downright scary. One of those behaving like a thug is played by Riz Ahmed, recently seen in the more nuanced political thriller The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2013).
It all begins to seem rather far-fetched, but for a good while Closed Circuit is a legal mystery thriller that reels you in.
Two lawyers have to be assigned to the case because the suspect has to stand trial in both open court and closed-door proceedings due to the classified nature of some evidence. According to the rules, Martin and Claudia are not supposed to contact each other during the trial.
Adding to the complicated structure of the case is the fraught relationship between the two as they had had an affair.
Eric Bana (Romulus, My Father, 2007) and Rebecca Hall (The Town, 2010) are both engaging actors who keep the film grounded even as the cloak-and-dagger elements pile up.
And while the truth regarding Farroukh's role in the bombing does propel the movie, in truth, he is only a minor character seen in a few scenes. Instead, director John Crowley (Boy A, 2007) puts Martin and Claudia in peril.
In order to wrap things up in a fairly brisk 96 minutes, there are some convenient lapses and loopholes in the story but at least you are kept guessing as to whether treachery, or justice, will triumph in the end.
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