Film Review


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Silver Circle

A scene from Pasha Roberts’s Silver Circle. [Photo: Area 23a]

Silver Circle

Set in 2019, Silver Circle tells the story of an America in deep financial distress. The price of consumer goods has skyrocketed and the Federal Reserve has a stranglehold on all facets of monetary trade, private or otherwise. Most notably, our central banking system has completely taken over the housing market; sending militaristic security forces to evict homeowners who refuse to sell their homes at federally mandated prices, the Fed flips the homes and resells them at double their worth. Enter Jay Nelson (De'Lon Grant), a federally employed arson investigator searching for clues at a Reserve-seized home that was burned down. His investigation leads him to an underground rebel group, led by the punkish Zoe (Philana Mia), dedicated to subverting the efforts of the Fed, namely the production of their own form of currency meant to undermine the Reserve's reliance on the U.S. dollar. Jay becomes embroiled in the efforts of the group, spurned by his blossoming romance with the curvy, quick-witted Zoe.

Amateurish and hyperbolic, this animated feature directed by Pasha Roberts makes quite clear his political leanings. A libertarian's wet dream, the film frames the Fed as monolithic, evil, and hell-bent on destroying the lives of disadvantaged Americans everywhere. With dialogue seemingly ripped from a message board on a Ron Paul fansite and computer-generated animation that barely registers above a cutscene from a PlayStation 2 game, Silver Circle adds little value to cinema writ large and will only appeal to those already sympathetic to its cause.

Roberts doesn't have much in the way of directorial prowess but exudes a sort of brash confidence in the text, provided by screenwriter Steven Schwartz. Gleefully hammering home an overcooked political thriller plotline, Schwartz certainly doesn't undersell the supposed intrigue of his story, often marrying the script's dramatic elements with ill-conceived, unpersuasive libertarian talking points. But while he may have Ron Paul's economic philosophies down pat, he conveys little comprehension in the way of human behavior, resolving to mimic the watered-down formulas of countless straight-to-DVD action films.

The level of formal ineptitude on display here is actually somewhat fascinating. The animated set pieces, as well as the characters that move around within them, are so devoid of detail that the film occasionally reads as an avant-garde exercise in CGI minimalism. The artificial nature of Silver Circle's universe only renders its political messages that much more tenuous. As simulacrums go, the world of Silver Circle is truly unique in its inexpressiveness, lack of corporeality, and overall unlikelihood.

Director(s): Pasha Roberts Screenwriter(s): Steven Schwartz Cast: De’Lon Grant, Philana Mia, Peter Berkrot, Victor Shopov, Robert Dunn, Greg Shea, Hyunsoo Moon, Michael Barbo, Chuck Galle Distributor: Two Lanterns Media and Area 23a Runtime: 90 min Rating: PG-13 Year: 2012

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