Columbus Circle, 2012.
Directed by George Gallo.
Starring Selma Blair, Amy Smart, Jason Lee, Giovanni Ribisi, Kevin Pollack and Beau Bridges.
After living a secluded life for almost two decades, an agrophobic heiress is forced to confront her fears when a tenant in her apartment building is murdered.
All too often in Hollywood, there’s a tendency to write a “twist” movie. The trouble with many of these films is that they suddenly let a lot of the dramatic weight of the film to rest on the power of the twists. As a result, this makes said film a film you can only watch once and enjoy (if the twist is good) or not enjoy much at all (if the twist isn’t). Ideally, as Alfred Hitchcock managed, you want to make a good film that can be appreciated over and over again because it engages on all fronts and doesn’t rest on pulling the wool over the audience’s peepers well.
How does Columbus Circle fair then? Hitchcock or Hodgepodge? Well, it’s straight to video for starters. That says a little, but it would be unfair to entirely disparage on that front. The direct to DVD world is not immune to excellence. Columbus Circle falls somewhere slap bang in the middle. It’s fairly enjoyable and pretty well made, but the writing or direction isn’t strong enough to make this stand out in the genre.
The film opens with the death of an elderly resident in a New York apartment building. She lives opposite the reclusive Abigail (Selma Blair). Detective Klandermann (Giovanni Ribisi) suspects foul play and questions Abigail. When a young couple move into the now vacated apartment, Abigail finds herself suddenly involved with them when she intervenes during a domestic incident between the couple (Amy Smart and Jason Lee). As the film progresses we discover that the central characters all have hidden pasts and some ulterior motives.
There’s not a single surprise to be had in the film in truth. There’s also a tendency, as every twist comes, for director/writer George Gallo to show his hand too soon, and indeed make it all a bit too obvious and also devoid of logic at times. Like many a twisty-turny movie, the film gets a little bit farcical.
Columbus Circle has its moments certainly, and thanks to a decent cast and technical proficiency (though somewhat mechanical on all fronts too) is never boring. Blair and Smart have always been likeable and manage to engage, whilst I’ve always enjoyed a lot of Ribisi’s work (aside from his dreadful showing in Avatar). There’s also fine support from reliable actors like Kevin Pollock and Beau Bridges. You probably won’t remember much of the film by the time the credits have rolled and it won’t be one you’ll be in a rush to watch again, but it’s a decent enough diversion. Hitchcock it certainly is not though!
Flickering Myth Rating: Film ** / Movie ***