Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday Movie ~ Circle

Saturday evening's viewing fare for us included an indie film available via Netflix: Circle. It's one of the most frustrating yet potentially very interesting movies I've seen lately. There's no scenery to speak of, one "special effect" and a group of 50 actors standing in circular formation throughout...until their demise that is.

We're left to guess what's going on - as are the actors' characters who have arrived in this huge space by some unknown event none can clearly recall. There's a sci-fi element, a Twilight Zone flavour and even, at times, a vague touch of the ol' X-Files. Scully or Mulder would have been a very welcome addition to help sort out the plot for us!

The film's 50 characters, we find, are being executed at the rate of one every two minutes. Why? By whom? Group members have their own idea, based on memory flashes, that some kind of abduction has taken place. Was it alien abduction or otherwise though? And again, why?

The characters quickly come to understand that they themselves are able to control who is next to be executed. I was probably slow on the uptake, but never did find out how this part worked. The people somehow controlled the executions by clenching a hand into a fist and pointing...or "voting". The interest, and point of the movie is in the arguments and deductions the group put forward in choosing who will die next. Politics, religion, race, age, sexual orientation, immigrants, truth-telling - all the big issues are brought up, briefly, and used.

As 50 thins out to 40, 30, 20 and less, it dawns on the survivors that one person will survive in the end only if.....well, I'll leave it there and refrain from revealing the ending - which itself offers only clues.

I guess the film purports to present a snapshot of human nature, as found in Los Angeles of 2015 - that's where the movie is set, by the way. One character suggests that the group, captured by extra-terrestrial beings, is being used to study human values. I didn't find that premise believable. Alien beings would a) have to have certain human characteristics to have devised this grotesque set-up; and b)would have had to be highly intelligent and skilled enough to travel to Earth from - wherever - and would have more sense than to set up some kind of Big Brother or Survivor cheesy TV show scenario - or so I would hope!

My guess, at first, was that this was the brainchild of some future US government, to winnow the nation's population, so that only one in 50 would survive. That was a wrong guess - unless (another guess) the perpetrators had come from a future Earth, had travelled back in time.

Something that occurred to me while typing this post: the film's broad content, minus any sci-fi element, could act as a metaphor for our real-life voting exercises - elections, and how we make our choices, and why.

Husband and I both decided that the film's core idea was a good one, but that the movie could have been improved with a tiny bit (not too much) of explanation, either at the film's outset or by its ending.


Sonny G said...

I'm not sure I could have made it to the end:)

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ We were glad it didn't stretch to more than 90 minutes! Yet a further ten minutes or so, well done, could have put it all into proper perspective. :-)

mike said...

Well, I almost watched "Circle" last night...Netflix indicated it had selected specially for ME...LOL. I saw the medium rating, 2.5 stars if I recall correctly, and decided against, not that I pay too much attention to their viewer ratings, as I've been fooled before by low-star, viewer ratings. Netflix' two sentence synopsis didn't appeal to me. I've had enough experience with Netflix now that I try to read something about the movies on offer from an other-than-Netflix internet review to decide. Sometimes I go in blind and take what comes. There have been several movies that had one-star ratings that I thought should have been four or five, but for the most part, the viewer ratings are fairly reliable. I doubt that I'll view "Circle", as it sounds tedious...I usually don't like low-budget, minimalist stage settings, particularly when the ratings are minimalist, too.

I selected "Jane the Virgin" series and am pleased that I did. In fact, I stayed-up way past my bedtime...until 2 AM, watching through S1E5. Only 22 episodes in S1, so 17 more episodes to go! Each episode is about 40 minutes. It is in the telenovela format and done well, with many intertwining plots and twists. Starts a bit Suzy-creamcheesy, but quickly expounds and expands. Many clever satires.

Made it through the deluge and high winds...the reward is a fabulous day of much cooler temperatures (60* low!, 75* high today!) and dry air...the blue norther of my dreams. I actually felt chilly this AM sipping hot coffee on the porch. I wanted a light jacket, but decided to take-in the full chill.

Twilight said...

mike ~ We ignore those Netflix star ratings most of the time, but for newly added films I've occasionally thought it worthwhile to try 'em, in spite of a low rating, as it might just indicate that not many people have yet viewed the film. I have very occasionally added a star to one I thought rated unfairly low. :-) I didn't add one to "Circle" even though I kind of enjoyed trying to work out what it was all meant to be about.

We began watching "Jane the Virgin" a short while ago, watched several early episodes - 4 or 5 I think, but declared it too soap opera-ish and abandoned it. I'm not totally against soap opera style - I grew old from 1960s onward watching Britain's Coronation Street, Eastenders, Emmerdale Farm . Maybe American soap opera is just a bridge too far for me though, and husband can't be doing with it anyway - though we did see possibilities in J the V's first couple of episodes, before the soap suds began flying. ;-)

Glad to know you braved the weekend weather. We have it very cool here today, so far, too, though likely to warm up later. By the way, I keep meaning to ask about your medical thing - thyroid. Did you receive the "all clear", apart from annual checks - or some such - as I did?

mike (again) said...

Geeeeeez, Twilight, the medical thing is still a thingy of unknowns! Mind you, it took about a year to finally find a doctor, then it took two months from booking the appointment to actually being seen. I had extensive blood work done and a thyroid sonogram. The sonogram appears normal in that I have the correct volume. Most of the blood work was lost or never performed...of course, no one knows why. The blood lab took five large vials, so I know they had the work order correct. My doctor said that this lab has been screwing-up lately. The loss of results wasn't discovered until my last appointment a week ago, so I had the blood work repeated a week ago today. My next appointment with the doc is this Friday. I convert from ACA's excellent insurance provisions (no out-of-pocket or deductibles, unique to my Native American status) to Medicare (plenty of out-of-pocket and deductibles) November 1st. So, try as I might to have everything resolved prior to Medicare, it appears for naught. Hopefully, all is fine with me and nothing to be done...except that I DO have something going-on with my neck around the thyroid's not in my throat per se, but swallowing is difficult on the right side and I DO have a thyroid nodule, also on the right side. I saw a blurb not long ago that someone had similar problems to mine and it turned-out to be a small, remnant, fragment from a metal brush that had been used to clean the BBQ grill! Maybe I have a remnant fish bone or some such.

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Good gracious! That's so horrendously inefficient....really really bad! I do hope that by Friday you'll have good news and satisfaction - not before time! I'm surprised that you'll lose your Native American benefits by a move to Medicare. That seems all wrong! Are you absolutely sure that's what'll happen? With such complex law involved stuff might have got lost in translation - or been forgotten.

The other day I received a statement from the New Mexico emergency clinic where I needed to go after falling and hurting my throat back in March - they said I still owe them $142 (of the several thousands of $$$$ for the CT scan etc etc etc. covered by Medicare). Took 'em long enough to find out! After talking to our supplemental insurance guy on the phone, following his advice I called the clinic in Alamogordo NM and asked if they had presented the bill to our supplemental insurance people. The person at the other end did a little soft shoe shuffling which indicated they'd missed that stage of the game. They'd had all my details, Medicare and supplemental from Omaha Mutual, but inefficiency had been at work again. :-/

Sonny G said...

Sorry that will happen Mike. Makes no sense to me either. You do not cease to be Native American so why take away those benefits. darn:(

LB said...

Sorry, mike. Sorry, Twilight. About your medical fiascos and costs.:(

mike ~ I'm pretty sure I already mentioned this, but has Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (Silent Reflux) been ruled out as a possible cause of your throat symptoms? LPR can feel like a 'lump' in the throat and make swallowing difficult, even without any of the more typical symptoms commonly associated with acid reflux. I guess that's why they call it *silent*.

It can cause all sorts of problems, including throat, ear, lung, and/or tooth issues.


Twilight ~ The photos from your Circle movie remind me of a big human mandala.:)

LB said...

mike ~ My very limited understanding is that Silent Reflux primarily affects the larynx and pharynx rather than the more resilient esophogal tissue.

LB said...

Oops ~ I misspelled it. It's *esophageal*.

mike (again) said...

Yes, I truly will lose my "no copay, no out-of-pocket, no deductible" benefits starting with Medicare. I made several calls to my tribal health care and Medicare, and the response was the same: NO. On top of that, under the ACA, I have a full tax credit that pays the entire monthly premium, due to my income. With Medicare, I have an additional $105 taken monthly from my Social Security to pay the Medicare premium. I did receive a waiver for the Medicare Part D, prescription coverage, so I won't have to pay the $50 monthly premium for that. Should I decide to relocate to your neck of the woods, Twilight, I can receive free medical care at the Shawnee, OK, Potawatomi Reservation. Fortunately, I'm healthy, except for this pesky neck weirdness.

Sonny - How's the Habitat for Humanity flood relief work of yours progressing?

mike (again) said...

Thanks, LB - You posted while I was typing my last comment. Nothing has been ruled-out at this time. As far as reflux, I doubt it, because my issue is more neck than throat, and it's one sided. I have a palpable swelling to the right of my thyroid and above, and a thyroid nodule. The nodule appears to be a separate issue from the swelling. On the positive side, the doctor said that since I've had this for four years, it's not likely to be a critical health issue, as it would have killed me by now...LOL. My sister thinks that I have a branchial cyst...I think I have a pyriform sinus issue. I'll tell the doctor to consider reflux, too.

LB said...

Good luck, mike. Whatever's causing your issues, I hope you find relief soon. The body can be a mysterious place.

Funny we're talking about throat & money/insurance issues, with the Full Moon in Taurus opposite Sun in Scorpio.

Twilight said...

LB ~ Yes, there's a mandala-ish look to it, agreed! :-)