Directed by: Mark Garvey
Written by: Mark Garvey
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THE SAME CIRCLES
The perfect night of the perfect romantic vacation. The air is brisk. You're having a great time with your loved one and life is good. Then sadly, it isn't. As if the devil himself came straight from hell to ruin you, a small group of hooligans intercedes in your, rather, Rory and Sapphire's perfect lives. Things would never be the same after that night. The rape is just the start of this story. After that "The Same Circles" spirals from bad to worse in the blink of an eye. What us viewers end up with is a film premise that is easy to understand and relate with. No surprising twists and turns. No massive reveals we never seen coming. The concept of this title is clean and simple. Revenge. Plain and Effective. Sweet revenge.
Unable to cope with her attack and rape, or possibly her boyfriend's odd behavior regarding it, Sapphire "Alice Phillipson" finally gives in and takes her own life. It's a choice many of us may not fully understand, but it does happen in real life. Trauma manifests itself differently in everyone, so it's no stretch of the imagination to understand this element of the story being told. In grand movie tradition, Rory "Simon Cleary" begins to hunt for those he considers responsible. What follows is not an action based title in the vein of the Bourne films, rather a grouping of extended montage scenes that showcase his search. Where this film starts off interestingly enough, with some great performance moments from Alice Phillipson, we quickly fall into what I would call a hunters abyss. There's not much going on mid-film save Rory's frantic search. A few drinking moments. A character thrown in to try and break the monotony, and that's pretty much all. "The Same Circles" is missing the one simple rule amazing movies follow. If it doesn't push the narrative forward, or has been done already, it's not needed. Mark Garvey who wrote and directed this title should have considered this rule, and acted accordingly. Instead, "The Same Circles" ends up with a promising start and a great ending. Most of the middle just drags on and on. If I wanted to witness what it was like walking down the street on my mobile phone, or driving around a city, I would just do it myself.
Being a micro budget movie, one can not expect perfection and massively high production values. With this title, we get a lot of the independent "look" and some excellent additions that were highly appreciated. Some great sky shots and traditional camera work co-exist with the gritty hand held look. What I call those reality TV palm shots. Although I dislike them ever so much, they did add a much needed sense of urgency to "some" of the scenes. I still would have loved to see less bouncing camera, but what's done is done.
Save being a long "feeling" title, mainly due to the massive amount of filler scenes, "The Same Circles" does a fantastic job with what it has. Some segments are just excellent to watch. Garvey, as a director, has a definite gift. I simply feel more should have been written into this title. I wish the script would have been fleshed out more, especially the middle. Or, it should have been made considerably shorter. I think an eighteen to twenty minute cut to the edit, mainly within that middle section, would have vastly improved my perceptions and enjoyment. Proving my point is pretty easy: if I removed almost every scene from mid-movie, and simply placed everything, starting with Rory's first captured target, right after the loss of Sapphire, this title would still make perfect sense. With no loss to the narrative being told. If I was one of the producers of this film, some things would either have had to go, or be re-written. There was simply too much "nothing" happening for a vast chunk of the film.
Every filmmaker wants to make a full length movie. The prestige of one such title is far greater than that of a short film. Yet even the best of concepts needs to have more than a solid start and a solid ending. It's the beef between the bun, with all the fixings, that really launches an amazing title. "The Same Circles" has some really great moments. Some downright tense scenes. These areas of the film are where it earns it's marks. That good stuff is really F*ing good and the rest, although not bad, just didn't do much for me. It's like watching a Nascar race if you're not a Nascar fan. It's there on your screen, but who really cares? The overall film is worth checking out, I won't write otherwise simply because I found some of it's segments unneeded. I just think it had the potential to be so much more. A good solid thriller, but nothing to write home about. Better than most micro films I've seen in recent months. That's for sure.