Time for us to dig out some of the most underrated gems of 2015, in our new section called 2015’s Most Underrated. Today, we are going to look at one of the most underrated movies of 2015. 

Aaron Hann & Mario Miscione may be relative newcomers but are definitely turning heads with their thought provoking writing and their brand new style of directing. The duo bursted into limelight when they co-wrote and directed ‘The Vault’ a web series which garnered cult like following and critical acclaim. The web series was showcased at the ‘Marseille Web Festival’ & ‘LA Indie Film Festival’. The web series also won the Audience Award Winner: Best Web Series at the ‘Independent Film Quarterly Film & Webisode Festival’ & Best Web Series at ‘The HollyWeb Festival’ 2013. The Duo had made their mark and Sci-fi fans around the globe wanted more. 

The duo’s directing style of placing mundane people in simple situations, in a single setting captivated the audience till the series ended in 2014. Character conversations were the storytelling device used by the duo and it worked. The next step was to take ‘The Vault’ and make it bigger and better – This gave birth to a new idea called ‘Circle’

‘Circle’ was a bigger undertaking and it got a major boost when Michael Nardelli got involved with the project. Now, backed with a full team and a diverse cast, the duo were ready to embark upon the ‘Circle’

The plot of the ‘Circle’ is fairly simple – What happens when 50 people awakened in a dark room realize that every two minutes one of them dies. What happens when they realise they control who dies or who lives.

Concept may be fairly simple but the implications are far more thought provoking. The duo essentially gave us a spiritual successor to ‘The Vault’. ‘Circle’ is one of those indie films that forces the audience to think. The script managed to cover political, social, and psychological issues plaguing our world today. ‘Circle’ made its world premiere on May 28th at the ‘Seattle International Film Festival’.

The film opens in a darkened room with no visible escape. In the center is a dome which zaps anyone that moves from their predetermined position(Circle). To make matters worse the dome machine zaps one of the captives every two minute based on the votes given by the remaining 50 captives. It feels like a roulette wheel with 50 real people as slots, only difference the winning number gets zapped to death.

Aaron Hann & Mario Miscione are masters of using character conversations to tell a story. Simple people, simple single setting and a very thought provoking scenario. The film grips you in. You can’t help but put yourself in the same scenario and think what would you do. Essentially, will you fight for your survival. How will you decide who lives, who dies? What prejudice do you have in your life? Do you even know you had them? 

The cast is excellent and very diverse. A mix of different genders, nationalities, ages, religion, economic background, making it simple for the viewer to identify with one of them. This makes the movie far more real and personal. Both the mute and talkative characters make a mark. It’s a perfect fit and it captures the panic, fear, and aggression among different characters exceedingly well. Adding an eight year old girl and a pregnant lady to the mix is a stroke of pure genius. These two characters bring in their own set of questions. how far will you got to survive?

The sound and cinematography is top notch and writing is excellent considering that every two minutes one character dies and in those two minutes essentially a philosophical debate takes place. Who is more important? Does age, economic and social background determine your survival? Should elders die first? or should the disabled? Are men better or women? Do gay people deserve to live? or is it illegal immigrants that deserve to die? Do criminals get a second chance? What reason will you brain accept to essentially kill someone else.

For me the movie is like a social commentary on how people think and act without any filters. In the real world discrimination and racism are negative words and being labeled as one could have a negative impact on a person’s identity –  even though you may have some prejudice – you learn to hide them or store it deep down. The ‘Circle’ reveals it all without any filter – after all it’s you or them.

Film shows how blocs or groups are formed, how religion and lifestyle choices come into play and forms a person’s prejudice. How ethics and morality goes out of the window when it comes to most basic raw mentality of survival. The film corners us and forces us to question ourselves.

Inspired by movies like the ‘Cube’ series with a dash of ‘Survivor’ – what you get is a cerebral masterpiece. ‘Circle’ is must watch for 2015.

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