The Circle is adapted from a novel by Dave Eggers, which I just read over the last week of quarantine. I’ll say it was a page turner, and I was surprised to hear it came out back in 2013. He’s created a scary claustrophobic tech world that seems very real today. I was also surprised to learn it had been adapted into a film, starring Emma Watson, Tom Hanks and John Boyega.
The idea is simple, nice hardworking Mae Holland gets her entry to a dream job at tech company ‘The Circle’, courtesy of college pal and superachiever Annie. Like Google and Facebook and everything online was one big company.
Unfortunately, aside from the cool perks and long hours, Mae uncovers a corporate agenda that will affect the lives of all of humanity.
The Circle is a tech nightmare
This is scary stuff – better dished out in the book, have to say, cause its a slow build. Mae is a fan of tech and a fan of this community, but this Silicon-Valley paradise is just beyond. Staff parties, talks and events all of the time, but turns out, they are mandatory. They say not mandatory, but if you don’t show up, they ask, do you care about your job?
It all seems harmless with Tom Hanks as the friendly CEO, giving his TED talks and encouraging his thousands of eager young brainiacs.
One of The Circle’s inventions to better the world is a tiny wireless camera in a transparent housing. Place them, millions of them, anywhere in the world and we can see all, and stop crime and unrest.
What could be wrong with that?
Emma Watson’s Mae starts to believe, and succeed, and we watch her get sucked in, to the disappointment of her friends and family offsite. The movie unfortunately jumps right into her rise, but fails to communicate how exhausting this job is, to think about and add to The Circle 24/7 would be.
Unfortunately, as our lead, Watson is a bit of a bore. Karen Gillan plays her rising-through-the-ranks friend with a lot more zip, I wish she was Mae. John Boyega is a mystery man who’s is neither here nor there, but doing a Yank accent better than Watson. Comparing it again, their relationship is much more interesting in the book. And Tom Hanks is always good, but he can’t do it all.
The Circle is on Netflix, but I say, read the book.