Circus Movie Review

Succeed in following the twists and turns of Circus and you'll deserve a medal. Quite literally, this film is one of the most perplexing caper pictures I've ever seen -- which likely explains its mysterious disappearance from theaters, practically before it ever arrived.

It is certainly not a film without some merit. With its surprisingly apt cast, including notables John Hannah (Four Weddings and a Funeral), Famke Janssen (Rounders), Peter Stormare (Fargo), and Eddie Izzard, it's hard not to like this bunch of clowns (no pun intended) as they stumble through a double-, triple-, even quadruple-cross plot ultimately involving a great deal of money that one lucky crook will end up with. But who?

While Circus wants to be Fargo and Shallow Grave, it really ends up as a poor imitation of some much better constructed films. In Circus, every scene is suspect. Every character is in bed with every other character. At the same time, every character is trying to double-cross every other character. Even our husband and wife heroes Hannah and Janssen are suspect. Points for keeping us guessing, but minuses for keeping us guessing so much that we cease to care.

Not helping matters is that it is nigh impossible to figure out exactly what is going on throughout the film, due to the combination of thick English accents and a real-flashback/phony-flashback construct that eventually loses sight of the plot altogether. Where all the money comes from and who the half-dozen supporting players report to is never adequately explained, and I was simply too ambivalent to fumble for the rewind button to figure it out.

TV director Rob Walker's feature debut is an admirable attempt but could have stood for considerable polish on David Logan's script (also a first feature for Logan). The film looks good, has plenty of unique and quirky touches, and breezes by in a speedy 90 minutes, which keeps things light. Too bad the story just isn't there. Circus might have tried to make this film first, but Snatch did it right a year later.

Famke's dancin'.

Cast & Crew

Director :


Circus Rating

" OK "

Rating: R, 2000


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