A landmark and tourist attraction of New York City, Columbus Circle, often seen from aerial shots in Film and TV works set in Manhattan, is located at the intersection of Eighth Avenue, Broadway, Central Park South and Central Park West. It is also a fairly tedious crime thriller that was released this week on Blu-ray and DVD.
Columbus Circle, directed by George Gallo, is a brilliant example of why you should be wary of any film with too many recognisable names in the cast. In fact running in at only 1 hour and 22 mins, the last 5 of which are credits, we can assume the majority of the films budget went on hiring said cast in a vain attempt to get people to watch what would ordinarily make for only a mediocre episode of Law and Order.
The story follows a wealthy heiress in hiding as she unwittingly, at first, fends off at attempt to steal her money. Selma Blair, as Abigail, does her utmost to depict a victim of abuse become agoraphobic, replete with overwrought face touching and intense staring off camera so frequently that you begin to wonder if she just didn’t remember her lines. The plot is moved forward by a preponderance of exposition from bizarre television news stories and awkwardly stilted dialogue – despite the fact Jason Lee seems perfectly capable of acting in other movies every time he’s on screen here he delivers lines with stagnant ineptitude.
The dialogue isn’t the only thing in trouble, the editing is a mess. There are bizarre digital crossfades throughout scenes, flash through whites, screen wipes, flashback quick cuts, slow motion, and bizarre colour and grain overlays all of which is attempting to mask the fact that the movies pace is crawling. Actions and movements seem to be drawn out in an attempt to make them seem more ‘tense’, the real effect of which is that by the end you’re no longer surprised when an obnoxious bank clerk keeps finding an unnecessary amount of narrative stalling tactics like he’s checking off some obscene list.
The film spends the better part of an hour setting up the emotional state of Abigail, her avoiding all human contact and hiding her identity – although she’s incompetently nonchalant about serving anyone food or beverages on china with her true family crest upon – and generally portraying her as barely capable of stepping past her doorway. But then in the last 5 minutes she’s so blasé about running around Manhattan in crowds of people that the character becomes bafflingly unbelievable.
It would be remiss to recommend anyone watch this film but if you do chances are you’ll have guessed the way things eventually pan out by about 25 minutes in. All in all it’s a very predictable, poorly constructed crime thriller whose ending is devoid of satisfaction by its sheer ludicrousness.
3 out of 10 – a whole point of which is for Beau Bridges, whose name is fun to say.