Director James Ponsoldt ("The Spoectacular Now", "End of the Tour") adapts a Dave Eggers' ("Away We Go", "Where the Wild Things Are") and casts Emma Watson ("Beauty and the beast", "Harry Potter"), Tom Hanks ("Scully", Captain Phillips") and the late Bill Paxton. What should expect? No less than greatness.


Don't hold your breath, this is one of the most disappointing films of the year. If you haven't read the book, by the time you finish watching the film, whatever urge you might have will soon fade; because the novelist and screenwriter are one in the same.


The plot is the a bastardized blend of Orwell's "1984", Dave Marconi's "Enemy of the State", Veronica Roth's "Divergent" tossed into the Steve Jobs blender of corporate teamwork. It is an effort to create a paranoid feeling of corporate nosiness while poking fun at the Millennials who seem to already buy into it.

Mae (Watson) gets a foot in the door job at the same corporate behemoth her friend works; a social media/tech conglomerate called the Circle. Initially, she doesn't fit in because the company believes in 100% transparency. Not their transparency; the employees and their members.


Soon, she learns that her co-workers are a bit uneasy not knowing everything about her and that she needs to post more of her life on their site. When they approach her they feed her the same jargon that the company CEO, Bailey (Hanks) feeds the company during one of their frequent corporate rah-rah sessions. Hanks plays this like he's been to every Apple product release conducted by Steve Jobs.


To get her on the same page, instead of just firing her - and risking her blabbing to the rest of the world all the info The Circle is gathering on everyone - it would be easier to move her up the ladder a bit and get her to ingest the bull with positive reinforcement. It works even as Mae gets more and more uneasy about the company's reach.


In the end however, there is never a stated purpose for gathering all the info save for world domination of info. There is a moment when one of the tech creator's (played by John Boyega) - who has been gently shuffled to the sidelines, warns Mae of impending doom with all this transparency. But that warning fades to black as Mae continues to reluctantly row the corporate boat.


The film merely states the obvious - that Facebook and Twitter and MSN have a lot of information on a lot of people and...


"The Circle" is in a word: disappointing. It goes absolutely nowhere and stays there with Tom Hanks delivering one of his most uninspiring performances and Emma Watson swimming upstream in a river of mediocrity.   -- GEOFF BURTON