CIRCLE is a gritty, low budget tale of generational consequences and the chaos that ensues when we get on the wrong side of magic.
Cardiologist Katka (Leslie Dame) has taken a vacation from her busy work life to spend some much needed bonding time with her daughter Rebecca, and granddaughter Eleanor. Fun family time, sure, but also a chance for Katka to check in on her daughter and confirm her suspicions about her granddaughter’s health. A quick check of crucial symptoms and a few lies later, Katka confirms her worst fear – her granddaughter has a deadly and rare heart disease, and it’s entirely Katka’s fault. Katka does the unthinkable and lies to Rebecca – telling her everything is fine — but Katka would do anything for her family, a statement that she will prove with her very soul as she ventures to her old stomping grounds in the heart of Central Park.
Leslie Dame’s performance is the heart and soul of CIRCLE, and she leaves everything on the proverbial stage for us to enjoy – blood, sweat, and tears. No one could accuse CIRCLE, or its cast and crew, of having a lack of resolve. In fact, CIRCLE is so courageous in its convictions that I am willing to forgive the common low budget flaws and rough edges. While it may not be a big budget blockbuster, it is made with about ten times the heart of most mainstream media available these days.
Held together by the crinkled paper of Eleanor’s drawings, the simple narrative is loosely woven between trees and behind waterfalls of the unmistakable landscape of Central Park. Bizarre, breathtaking imagery ranging from the sacred to the scary guides us through this wild hunt for answers and, ultimately, a cure.
Magic (or, in this case I’m tempted to write “magick”) is a driving theme of CIRCLE, with arcane and sacred imagery prevalent throughout the film. A felled tree becomes a hugely pivotal turning point in the story, driving home the deeply natural and earthy heart of magic and witchcraft. Jump scares are rampant, and shocking imagery combined with wild sound design accomplishes scare after scare with increasing impact.
While CIRCLE may not be everyone’s cup of tea–I can’t even say with conviction it’s mine–it cannot be denied this is a passion project–a labor of love. Charles Davis, writer and director, of Chunkle Freaky’s Movies, wrote this film after the sudden illness of both his wife and mother simultaneously. Thankfully they recovered and from that event we got a one way ticket into the creative mind of Charles Davis.
CIRCLE is now available to stream on Amazon.
5 out of 10 stars