Eric Bana is teaming up with Robert Connolly’s CinemaPlus to jointly distribute Closed Circuit, a London-set conspiracy thriller that stars Bana and Rebecca Hall, in Australia.
The film will open on December 5, with Bana taking part in Q&A screenings around the country, emulating the successful event cinema concept pioneered by Connolly on Tim Winton’s The Turning and Underground: The Julian Assange Story.
Bana’s Pick Up Truck Pictures will co-distribute the film, in which he and Hall play defence lawyers who represent a terrorist (Denis Moschitto) charged with blowing up London’s Borough Market. The former lovers discover a conspiracy which puts their lives in danger. Jim Broadbent, Julia Stiles and Ciaran Hinds co-star.
Pick Up Truck Pictures co-produced Richard Roxburgh's Romulus, My Father, which starred Bana and was produced by Connolly and John Maynard; and Bana’s directorial debut Love The Beast. Bana negotiated the deal for Closed Circuit with Focus Features, which is selling international rights to the Working Title film.
The actor and Connolly are longstanding friends and share an office in Port Melbourne. Connolly told IF the film will have a boutique release, playing on 20-25 screens. He hints at the prospect of further collaboration with Bana.
Bana told Deadline.com, “We thought there was no reason we couldn’t look at distributing boutique releases in our backyard. Robert has navigated those waters before with his company CinemaPlus, and has been extremely involved in securing cinemas and has longstanding relationships with exhibitors here. I have logged many years on the publicity trail, and the relevant outlets know me and I know them. On paper, it’s fresh waters, but in reality it isn’t really. We can have a level of control, and to us it makes a helluva lot of sense and is something I wish I had done earlier.”
Directed by John Crowley (Is Anybody There? Boy A), the thriller grossed a modest $US5.7 million in the US, released in August.
"Closed Circuit is steeped in the details of English law, and rather than being obscure or arcane, these details ground the film and give it an authentic air,” said the San Francisco Chronicle’s Mick LaSalle.
“Neither protagonist is a heroic type. He is crusty, impatient, slightly superior, and she is a humourless stickler. But they find themselves thrown into a situation in which they have to be either much better than they are or much worse. It's an uncomfortable choice.”
The Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips observed “there are holes where better bits of plot wouldn't have hurt” but concluded, “The satisfactions of the film are in seeing what a screen full of excellent players can do to steer you around the holes. Bana never quite seems enough to anchor a picture for me; all the same, he acquits himself sharply here. And Hall is one of the best actors in contemporary movies, able to leap past horsy expositional monologues in a single bound and humanise a forbidding character.”