Columbus Circle is the kind of film that doesn’t come along very often; at least, not any more.
The lack of quick-cuts, indecipherable fights, automatic weapons, gore, super-powers, nudity, or gratingly up-to-date soundtrack mark this out as a film with one foot comfortably in the past.
Not that this is some sort of knowing ‘retro’ piece; there are no nods to exploitation cinema, revamping of falling careers, parading of porn stars or any of the other ridiculousness that has marred much of the recent resurgence in faux-grindhouse movies. No.
Here instead we are given a decent story, solid acting, a filming style which has not been designed to make you feel stupid or sick, and an unambiguous conclusion that you can really get behind. It may sound like a granddad’s ideal movie, but it’s just crazy enough to work.
The film follows a reclusive heiress, played by Selma Blair. The film opens with a murder in the apartment opposite from her, and everything unfolds from there. She is forced to deal with the police, in particular with the always excellent Giovanni Ribisi’s character, and of course her new neighbours.
With a strong ensemble cast featuring Beau Bridges, Jason Lee, Kevin Pollak, and Amy Smart, it’s no surprise that by the end of the film everyone has become caught up in the intrigue, as the tension keeps on rising.
While it’s true that you can see many of the plot turns coming, it’s still a very enjoyable ride, and one worth taking if you miss the movies of simpler times. It feels like a good Hitchcock-inspired 90’s thriller – like Basic Instinct without the disgusting bits, or the dreadful bits, or the bits with Michael Douglas…
OK, so it’s not really like that at all, but the point still stands: Columbus Circle has its heart in the right place.
Blair, Smart, Pollak and Ribisi stand out as particularly enjoyable, the action is well-handled by director George Gallo, and the film as a whole is simply a very enjoyable thriller, which is not to be sniffed at.
A solid Friday night date movie for the more grown-up among us.