Let me describe a little movie I found in a hidden niche the other day on the Netflix menu. The name of the film was The Circle and everything about it was just a bit different from your average movie. First it has a cast of exactly 50 people (turns out that may be 51, but that is one of the many surprises in this film). All people are supposedly strangers (or maybe not—that’s another surprise) who suddenly find themselves in the same, pitch-black room. The only light comes from the individual circle of red light each of them is standing on and a series of white lights that intermittently flash on and off.
None of the 50 actors is anyone you would know and it turns out that none of the role players is any more important than the other. The people portrayed are just a seemingly random selection of people young and old, male and female, black and white, and forceful and meek.
Some force has brought them all together in this room, but no one has any real idea who did it or why. Suddenly one of them moves off his circle his movement is accompanied by a sudden beeping and flashing of lights. Suddenly everything stops, there is a bright flash (arcing bolt of electricity), and the errant person keels over dead on the floor.
This immediately gets everyone’s attention.
A few of people start to talk and then try to figure out what is happening. After two minutes the beeping starts again and the lights begin to flash. Once again, in a few seconds, everything stops, the arc of electricity hits one person killing them instantly. No one knows why this person was the victim.
For the remainder of the movie, everyone knows that every two minutes the beeping and lights will return and one of them will die. Their challenge is to figure out why and determine if they can stop or control the process.
Eventually the group realizes they do have some control over who dies next. It seems the person the majority of people are thinking about dies each time. When they realize they have some part in the decision about who should die next, the short conversations between one another become more intense and sometimes compassionate, sometimes vengeful, and sometimes deceitful. It is these simple interactions done in two-minute segments that make up the entire plot of the movie.
Like I originally said, the movie is about 50 people in a dark room and that is it. People drop one at a time and who will be next is never a sure thing. Sometimes it seems like there is a reason for the choice of who dies, sometimes the selection seems to have no basis. People who were rather prominent in one discussion are suddenly, poof, gone in the next round.
In the end, this movie is about who will be the last person left and will they be spared. When there are just a few people left, strategy becomes very important as well as to what length someone would go in order to continue living.
No real action, no special effects, but one of the best written and dramatically acted films I have seen in a long time. Never heard about this 2015 movie until browsing through the Netflix selections, but it is a real gem—I was glued to it for 90 minutes.