Right, I’m sure I’m going to get a lynching for this, but I personally rather liked Columbus Circle! It has come under a phenomenal battering among critics, being viciously slated universally, it seems, and even being released straight to DVD. But what can I say? Yes, the story was completely unbelievable, yes, there were plot-holes the size of planets, yes, there seemed to be such obvious ‘Apple’ product placements, yes, the script was hardly eloquent or sophisticated and yes, the acting is not going to win any awards any time soon, but I still found it an enjoyable watch. I didn’f feel that any of these things had a major impact on the view-ability of the film, actually finding myself becoming gripped and interested in how the events were going to play out.
When I watched this film, I actually had no idea about what the story was or about the excessive hatred that many people felt towards it and so my mind was a complete blank slate – which is definitely the best wat to view a film, I believe. The only reason I chose to watch it in the first place is because the cast sounded pretty decent to me (being Selma Blair, Amy Smart, Giovanni Ribisi, Jason Lee and Kevin Pollak) and I honestly don’t think that any of them gave a hideous performance, as many other film reviews seem to assert. I think the remarks about Selma Blair’s acting being too ‘wooden’ is unfair, considering the fact that she’s playing a recluse who hasn’t left her apartment in 12 years! Of course her character is not going to be the life and soul of the party, so Selma Blair played her role perfectly understated and ‘awkward’ which very much suited the part, I thought. It was nice to see Amy Smart in a meatier role than the comedy ones that I’m used to seeing her in (with the exceptions of films like The Butterfly Effect and Mirrors). She did a good job to get her head round a much more complex character – as there are several layers to her which are slowly unfolded throughout the film.
This film is centred around an expensive apartment building – in Columbus Circle, naturally – where an old lady unfortunately dies. A new couple moves in, much to Abigail Clayton’s (portrayed by Selma Blair) annoyance, and we soon learn that all is not as it seems. Indeed, there are a whole bunch of plot twists and turns which make for exciting viewing, as one would have found it impossible to have predicted the ending at the start of the movie. I think that the film travels at just the right pace, not bombarding the audience with too much early on, meaning that ‘bombshells’ are dropped fairly evenly throughout the film, maintaining attention and interest. The characters themselves sometimes seem a bit weak and lacking understandable motivations. Indeed, Beau Bridges character (Dr Raymond Fontaine) did not appear to be fully developed and so once the movie is over, one is left questioning his story and how he really fits into the preceding events. Also, Kevin Pollak’s character (Klandermann) was somewhat shrouded in mystery for the entire film, meaning that the viewer never really gets a chance to fully understand his purpose – does his character even have a purpose?
Obviously, there were a fair few flaws with the actual storyline of the film, but I genuinely thought that it was a good idea to explore, as it’s not something that’s really been touched on before. An easy point of comparison would be the thriller Copycat with Sigourney Weaver and Holly Hunter, due to the nature of a character who cannot leave their flat, and exploring the various challenges that come with that. I would actually make comparisons between this and The Disappearance of Alice Creed as well, because both of these films have a criminal plot which, though starting out well-planned, quickly unravels whilst the characters try desperately to salvage what they can of it. If you are one of the few people out there who also enjoyed Columbus Circle, then I would recommend that you check these two other films out, as odds are that you’ll like them too.
So whilst one is acutely aware of the holes in the storyline of Columbus Circle, the film manages to be so enticing that it does not get in the way of the viewers enjoyment of it. It works out as a nice little thriller, and not at all ‘an embarassment to everyone involved’ as has so harshly been cited across the web. I definitely think that it’s worth at least one watch!