FIRST GLANCE: "Circle" a Gradually Horrific Allegory for a Social Media Obsessed Society

Updated 28 weeks ago by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
FIRST GLANCE:  "Circle" a Gradually Horrific Allegory for a Social Media Obsessed Society

Yielding a gradually intensifying innocent Orwellian fable, "The Circle" immerses you into the fruits of an overly connected existence.

Frightening analogies  indict political, social, and leisure networking all by massaging digital data gathering obsessions as normal.

When Mae (Emma Watson) abandons her calm angry callers telephone agent job for a utility, she foresees employment by the world's largest tech and social media corporation as a sweet and golden opportunity. Her doubts rise when two fellow employees reveal how to manipulate online respondents to a 100% satisfaction survey and urge her to fully participate in off-the-clock leisure opportunities offered for "circlers."

The regime consists of a weekly presentation by charismatic company founder Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks) massages the minds of the workers through carefully scripted motivational exercises that stimulate bonding. Pending accomplishments dip into intimate privacy, social decisions, and foreshadow political group think.

Under the guise of ultimate transparency , lives become a nearly 24/7 reality show accompanied by instant Facebook leveraged feedback. The snarls of curious stalkers watching her life streamed has been made possible by a tiny wireless camera velcroed orb which attaches and blends seamlessly with exterior and interior landscapes then beams images to satellites.

FIRST GLANCE:  "Circle" a Gradually Horrific Allegory for a Social Media Obsessed Society

Director James ("Smash") Ponsoldt has excelled encouraging female performances and "Circle" represents a woman rising in the ranks of male-dominated software engineering, where indoctrinated easy on the eyes  ladies serve as exploited experimenters for company gurus.

Ponsoldt misses  novelist and co-screenplay credited  Dave Eggars  hyperbolic dark satire. He bodes eerie well, through his thrills have a passive feel and disconnected edge particularly in the lack of firmly etching villainous dark sides.

One critic expressed this well stating, "Circle is stuck in between  two extremes. On the one hand, it’s an Orwellian drama about surveillance society; at the same time, it’s a sincere workplace drama about young adulthood that shoehorns in  techno-babble."

I'd agree with the 'in between' extremes aspect, as Circle depicts how the surveillance can save lives as well as destroy them. 24/7 transparency has a place for politicians (lots of emphasis on emails, LOL), but the turning the camera off choices seem jumbled. One scene has Mae speaking in confidence during a three minute bathroom break, yet, later she has the ability to switch it off herself on demand.

Ponsoldt hints of darker forces (the tunnel scene), yet, he allows Watson to almost subtly discover answers following implementation of her software imaginations, skewed to fit the broader aspects of the corporation's agenda, such as influencing voter participation.

Call this a general pre-dystopian story which reflects how easily the populace embraces rigid societies like those depicted in Hunger Games, Divergent , The Maze, Cherry 2000,  Blade Runner, and a disturbing After School Special "The Wave."  For a computer controlling society, The Forbin Project, a couple had to enter a bedroom naked in order for cameras and microphones to be turned off.

My 'she said' quickly disputed my President Trump 'tweet' ellipses and forays into real time survey bound political flip flopping. Describing a bigger picture, she found it disturbing that the young people in the film relied solely on computer internet networking.

FIRST GLANCE:  "Circle" a Gradually Horrific Allegory for a Social Media Obsessed Society

Her question from a 'teaching' perspective inquired --- Should not children first learn about actually participating in life adventures before learning the expansiveness of computer connections?  "What happens when the battery, electricity or internet fails," she asked? By , for instance, ordering everything online, the upcoming generation may not encounter brick and mortar interpersonal skills, suggesting they depend on what the device states, not considering that improper input produces the wrong result.

She found herself enveloped by the screen concepts; I recognized that neither Hanks nor Watson expressed thundering passion. For that matter, everyone's emotions appear turned off. Maybe the lunch room at The Circle has mandatory mood stabilizers on the menu.

 

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