It turns out being a bit of a nutjob is a requisite for being successful in Silicon Valley.
In the Black Mirror-esque The Circle, Tom Hanks plays Eamon Bailey, a hugely successful tech entrepreneur with a utopian view of how the world should operate – without secrets. It all sounds very idealistic, and Hanks enthusiasm as Bailey is infectious. But for the first time Hanks is playing a bad guy with a ‘good guy’ mask. It’s the first time he’s playing a villain since he sort of did in Road to Perdition.
Bailey is the CEO of the world’s most powerful tech company which according to the film’s synopsis “links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency.”
The perks of course entice the most promising of people, including the smart and ambitious Mae Holland (Emma Watson, in case the character spec didn’t give it away).
“As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cosy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO.”
Landing the coveted job straight after graduating, Holland thinks she’s hit the jackpot.
She becomes a rising star in the company, becoming a public figure due to her involvement in ground-breaking technology.
But all is not as it seems. Based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Dave Egger, Bailey’s free snacks, creative space, games room-style company is a ruse for a darker goal.
As the world outside of the company feels further and further away, together with programmer Kalden (John Boyega), Holland uncovers Bailey’s plan behind the company’s motto “Secrets are lies” - to run a state of surveillance and to rid us of privacy. Holland and Kalden must test the limits of the internet as they question the morality and effect on freedom that they are having.
“What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.”
Watson is predictable as a goodie two shoes, but director James Ponsoldt says her character is supposed to be ‘us’ and that “you will walk out of the theatre and have a serious look at yourself and how you’re living your life.”
Watch the trailer below:
The Circle comes out 28 April 2017 in the US. UK release date TBC.