Closed Circuit is an intelligent movie about the British intelligence field. The plot focuses on two lawyers in the British system, both of whom are hired to defend a man suspected of terrorist activities. One is the lawyer that the accused hired himself (Eric Bana), and the other (Rebecca Hall) is a lawyer who has been appointed by the state to defend the accused in an in-camera (i.e., secret, non-public) hearing. These kinds of secret hearings were a pretty big political deal a few years ago as the alleged co-conspirators involved with 9/11 were captured and tried. The “big deal” part comes about because the evidence against the accused is said to be of such a delicate nature and so intricately linked to matters of national security that even the accused person himself cannot know what that evidence is. This of course goes against all kinds of accepted rights and civil liberties that we have in Western societies involving criminal trials and accused persons.
Anyway, this is a movie that you have to pay attention to–not one to watch while you’re, say, knitting a really complicated sweater, or having a conversation on the phone with your mother, or playing Candy Crush. There are some legal complexities that are explained but if you aren’t paying full attention you may not catch. There are some plot turns that are kind of subtle and you might miss if you aren’t watching closely. But if you are, Closed Circuit is pretty good. It’s entertaining in the kind of cerebral, British way that many BBC crime dramas are, and the acting is quite typical of British dramas as well–solid, not too over-the-top performances. Now that I’ve put it this way, I wonder if this might have done a bit better as a BBC miniseries.
I could have done without the romantic tension between the two leads, but otherwise I liked it quite well. I recommended it to my parents, and they also liked it. So, if you are in the mood for a smart movie about spying and terrorism, have a go, as the Brits might say.