Under the Radar
Not to be confused with the Emma Watson/Tom Hanks dramatic thriller, 'The Circle', here we have a relatively intense, relatively original sci-fi thriller involving 50 strangers, a mysterious chamber, and deadly odds.
A point of interest about this group is that they are all very different. Men, women, varying races, varying cultures, varying ages. I think the biggest name we have here is Carter Jenkins of 'Mad Men'. The rest of the cast, I didn't recognize, which either makes them no-names, or I've actually seen far less movies than I imagined.
The group wakes up, and starts dying off one by one, ridding us of several characters fairly quickly. They soon figure out that they each have the ability to "vote" for who dies next, and it becomes a gruesome process-of-elimination game. The thrill of the film not only comes from how they end up having to inevitably decide who goes next, but the fact that they really don't know where they are, or why they're made to do this. In other words, there's no creepy 'Saw' puppet to guide them. These, folks are left to their own devices.
The overall premise is really simple, and the film is definitely of the "bottle" variety, pretty much the whole way through. So if you don't wanna watch 50 strangers killing each other off for an hour and a half, this movie might not be for you. However, much like with a movie like 'Buried', there's more to the film than just claustrophobia.
This film ends up being far more of a character study than anything, in that with such a variety of people, we see a lot of varying prejudices as well. The elderly, the dark-skinned, the gay, women (some pregnant), and yes, even a child, are all put to the test, usually against a mouthy, greedy, Caucasian dude. So there's definitely a sense of personal politics going on here, although I will say it doesn't cover everyone, it definitely gets its message across. The whole thing could be seen as a take on the white-washed world.
The only real problem the film has, in my opinion, is its acting. It's not all bad, but some of the delivery feels like I'm watching a high school (maybe college) play. But when I don't recognize any of these faces, I can't be too nit-picky about such a thing. The real draw to this is the overall concept, and the execution does feel pretty intense. One must keep in mind that at the end of this, only one person comes out alive. So, much like with 'Game of Thrones', try not to establish a favorite character.
'Circle' can currently be found on Canadian Netflix if you'd like to check it out for yourself. I don't highly recommend it to just anyone and everyone, but if you wanna see an hour and a half bottle movie about, essentially, how our world of prejudices works, I totally recommend it. I definitely enjoyed it, for the most part.