Astrology: Film: ‘Closed Circuit’ (2013)

Focus Features

Focus Features

When catastrophe strikes, how deeply are those in charge willing to dig for the truth? That’s the issue explored in Closed Circuit, directed by John Crowley, which starts off by plunging the viewer into a large-scale, 9-11-type terrorist attack in London.

The apparent culprit – Farroukh Erdogan (Denis Moschitto) – is apprehended quickly enough. To prosecute him, the British government will used classified evidence, and only one attorney representing the accused – the so-called special advocate, approved by the attorney general (Jim Broadbent) – will have clearance to see it.

Here the special advocate appointed is Claudia Simmons-Howe (Rebecca Hall), who must swear to keep that classified evidence to herself until an appointed date – when what is anticipated to become the trial of the century moves to “closed” session where she can argue for its full disclosure. Rules surrounding this secrecy are stringent: once she’s been made privy to the classified material, she can’t communicate with either the defendant or other members of the defense team.

Of course, circumstances will present themselves which will make it impossible for her to keep mum.

The attorney representing Erdogan is her ex-lover Martin Rose (Eric Bana), and something about the case just doesn’t compute. Will Claudia confide in Martin so that they both violate the oaths they’ve taken about non-communication between them, and risk their careers and lives for justice? Any viewer who’s watched the British series “MI-5” can attest that government security and legal professionals – including those who wield charming English accents like this movie’s Devlin (Ciaran Hinds), Sharma (Riz Ahmed) and Melissa (Anne-Marie Duff) – will brutally defend their country at all cost. Trouble is, Martin and Claudia are running out of the time they need to finger the bad guys.

Just as the movie opens with an ear- and eye-shattering explosion, Closed Circuit is itself a ticking time bomb of information waiting to erupt like a powder keg and ensure that justice is served. The archetypal big reveal – of what’s hidden and necessarily exposed, scandal be damned – is the domain of Pluto.

Because Plutonian energy – mercilessly life-and-death – is a churning mass of tension that’s simply biding its time to detonate, Closed Circuit is an effective nail-biter. The viewer knows, deep down (Pluto operates within the hellish bowels of the earth), that no good will come of this. The only consolation or hope is that, with decimation, pieces of the truth, like expendable debris, will also find their way out of the rabbit hole.

Astrology Film Review: ♇ (Pluto)

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