Circle (2015)

(Netflix Streaming, January 2017) One good reason to enjoy low-budget science fiction movies is to see how writer/directors will manage to stretch limited budgets into imaginative premises. In Circle’s case, the solution is ingenious: a blackened-out set, with only a few overhead lights and coloured circles on the floor. Otherwise, fifty characters/actors dropping at the rate of one every minute and a half, as they’re all stuck in an elimination game. Who will survive the ordeal? After a pleasantly chaotic start in which the rules of the game are deduced, Circle becomes a series of moral debates as various versions on the “who deserves to live” theme are explored. The script does have a heavy hand, as may be expected from the setup, but after a while viewers will learn to follow along for the ride. While the ending won’t please those looking for a definite moral answer, it does conclude the plot threads effectively (which is more than many other low-budget SF movies do). Writers/directors Aaron Hann and Mario Miscione have crafted something intriguing and effective in Circle, and at barely less than 90 minutes, the result is well worth a look for fans of SF thrillers.

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