Allegra Masters, Ashley Key, Michael Nardelli, Coley Speaks, Daniel Lench
Directors: Aaron Han & Mario Miscione
“Held captive and faced with their imminent executions, fifty strangers are forced to choose the one person among them who deserves to live.”(IMDb)
»Currently streaming on Netflix«
What to Expect
People standing around a dark room for 87 minutes
A Tesla coil of death
Why You Should Watch It
Circle explores some unique aspects of humanity, such as how we deem certain lives to be worthy over others. Is it youth, innocence, religion, or even just being able to speak the same language as someone else? What kind of connections do we need to have with a stranger to decide that their life is valuable? How would we convince others that we deserve to live? Would we even try?
Although the setting of the scene remains the same for 98% of the film, the fluid motives of the group in how they make their selections keep the plot moving forward, along with curiosity to see who makes it out…and what happens to the one who does.
I have a lot of issues with this film. Not the ending—that was a grim surprise. But basically everything else. For starters, nobody floated the idea that maybe the lone survivor doesn’t get to go free? How did anyone know that they weren’t hand picking (HA, get it?) a prime candidate to get probed? That would have been a great ending for Eric’s (Nardelli) manipulative ass.
Also, the group as a whole seemed be taking the whole “let’s all kill each other” thing in stride. I would have been shaking and crying the entire time. Individuals only seemed upset in the very beginning or when they were certain their life was in jeopardy. But hey, an hour and a half of people crying hysterically would have gotten old fast.
When Eric does the unthinkable to “win” and is released back to Earth, he joins a small group of bystanders looking on at the alien ships. About half of the group is made up of pregnant women and children. How Eric needed to kill the fetus to be the final person, but presumably the other women were released with their children intact, could imply that the babies couldn’t be killed without also killing the mother. So if the pregnant women were the final ones left, they weren’t left with the choice to self-abort to be freed.
There isn’t much of an explanation as to why the aliens did what they did. Possibly for entertainment, possibly to go Thanos on humans and kill off the lesser valuable population so Earth can grow anew. Who’s to say?
One macabre connection I couldn’t help noticing in the time of COVID-19 was how the elderly population was the first to be targeted by the group. They had lived their lives, and didn’t have much else to contribute to society. Something that was darkly echoed in a Facebook friend’s crass post about coronavirus. The argument was that older people were expendable, and as such, the younger population didn’t have to sequester themselves and play into media sensationalism. The poster’s thoughts were not received well, and since then it has been relieving to see, especially in the wake of Dan Patrick’s comments, that people are not so willing to throw the older population under the bus. Even so, opinions like these give an eerie realism to Circle‘s cruel methodology.