Imagine a world where everything you do is tracked online. Where privacy doesn’t exist. Where corporations have the government’s blessing to extract whatever information they want about you.
Welcome to that world. Thanks to a recent party-line vote in Congress, you live in it.
All of this makes the The Circle, a new drama starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks, look a lot less like a thriller and more like prophecy.
The film, directed by James Ponsoldt from a novel and screenplay by Dave Eggers, is about the role of technology in our lives as we trade convenience for surveillance.
It’s hard to categorize the movie, which opens April 28, as science fiction since it would actually be behind the times if it came out later this year.
“This is not a dystopian future that’s set in, you know, 2050 or something,” Watson tells EW. “This could basically be tomorrow. This is kind of an uncomfortably close film about where, if we aren’t careful, we could very easily go. Technology is advancing us and giving us so much and empowering us in so many amazing ways, but it’s also handing over potentially huge amounts of information. And information is power. Even more than money.”
Don’t think your random searches or browser history contains anything vital or revealing? Then consider this clip from The Circle, where Nate Corddry plays an employee at the eponymous company who is interviewing Watson’s character for a job.
He’s asking her a series of rapid-fire questions: Which Beatle is her favorite? Mario or Sonic? What’s the right way to pronounce ‘GIF’? What could that have to do with her ability to do this job?
But every fact is a dot that can be connected. Collect enough dots, and you have a very private picture.
Hanks plays the leader of the company, who’s not necessarily an evil guy. He just wants to know everything about you.
In her interview with EW, which you can watch more of below, Watson describes his Eamon Bailey as “an incredibly likable genius, a big brother figure.”
But is that “big brother” as in the older, stronger guy who protects and loves you, or George Orwell’s Big Brother from 1984, which monitors your every move and judges you?
“He has an amazing way of explaining things that doesn’t make it feel like your civil liberties are being taken out of your hands,” Watson says of Hanks’ character.
Eamon Bailey and the people of The Circle just believe people behave better when they know they’re being watched.
Have a look, won’t you?