Closed Circuit is a neat and clever, though not nearly as clever as you might have hoped for, political thriller. It makes one troublesome mistake – it fails to give its viewers credit for having some intelligence. By that I mean, that so much of the film’s twists and turns can be seen coming from miles away. The dispensation of clues is handled as if we needed to be hit over the head with a fact in order for it to sink in.
We actually suss things out well before the lawyers do.
That said, the story is about a pair of London based lawyers handling the defense of a Turkish man who has been accused of a terrorist act, the blowing up of a truck in a crowded London market area resulting in 120 deaths. This Trial of the Century, as it was called by the London papers, seems ripped right from the pages of today’s news, or from your TV screen. Actually London has about a half-million surveillance cameras all over the city. These don’t use public airwaves, Instead they are all closed circuit, which is the title of the film, and the basis of the film’s tagline – they see your every move.
These lawyers are Eric Bana playing Martin Rose, the barrister or counsel for the Defense, and Rebecca Hall as Claudia Simmons-Hall, as the Special Advocate. What does that mean exactly? The Defense Attorney is as it seems, an attorney for the Defense. He will make his arguments in Open Court. The Special Advocate is something else entirely. She will be shown evidence that is not available to either the defendant or the defense attorney.
This is material ‘protected’ under the laws concerning National Security. It will be the job of the Special Advocate to argue, in a closed session of court, that the defense get to see this ‘evidence’. The are strong strictures in place for this protected evidence. Simmons-Howe can neither show this to the defense team, discuss it with the defense team, or even meet with the defense team.
Of course – it just isn’t that easy, especially since, these two have a romantic history.
Nevertheless, they proceed.