Closed Circuit starts off with a literal bang, as an explosion at a crowded London market leads to the arrest of suspected terrorist Farroukh Erdogan (Denis Moschitto).
Before the "trial of the century" starts, Erdogan's lawyer suddenly dies—suspicious much?—so a new defense attorney, Martin Rose (Eric Bana), steps in. Because of some classified evidence, the government appoints an additional defense attorney, Claudia Simmons-Howe (Rebecca Hall), who's prohibited from talking to Erdogan or his lawyer. One problem: Claudia and Martin just happen to be ex-lovers, and that's out of order, Your Honor!
Can these two keep their gavel banging a secret? Will their guilty-pleasure behavior make them vulnerable to sinister players involved in the case? You have the right to read these facts:
1. A Mixed Verdict: Three months before cameras rolled, the filmmakers tasked Bana and Hall with learning as much as possible about the British justice system. The actors sat in on cases and studied processes relevant to the story. Director John Crowley also called for an intensive two-week rehearsal prior to shooting—unusual for a film. All this prep pays off in the performances, especially Hall's, but they're still working from a script that's loaded with exposition and plot contrivances.
2. Row, Row, Row Your Boat: Bana, who headlined Ang Lee's Hulk, is no stranger to bulking up for a role, but CC required that he learn how to row. He trained with a coach in Melbourne and the U.K., and the sport proved more physical than expected for the actor. Bana shows off his "sculling" skills—and taut physique—early in the film, as he rows down the River Thames. The location provides great views of the MI5 and Parliament House buildings, which figure prominently in the plot.
3. It's a Small World After All: Closed Circuit boasts an international, multicultural cast. Bana, an Australian, adopts a British accent to play Martin, while Irish actor Ciårán Hinds (who first worked with Bana in Munich) costars as his colleague Devlin. Denis Moschitto, a German actor of Italian descent, plays Turkish for the role of defendant Farroukh Erdogan. The lone American in the cast is Julia Stiles, who makes a brief appearance as journalist Joanna Reece.
4. You Already Know British Lawyers Wear Wacky Wigs: But you should also know that U.K. courts make a distinction between lawyers as barristers and solicitors. Bana plays a barrister (don't ask for coffee — that's a barista!); he's an advocacy specialist who represents clients in court, whereas a solicitor (played by Hinds) helps prep the case but doesn't participate in courtroom proceedings. When a trial involves classified evidence in a closed session, often related to national security, a Special Advocate (played by Hall) is appointed to represent the defendant. Court adjourned.
5. You're Being Monitored Right Now: The movie's title not only refers to the closed court hearings during the climactic trial—but also the U.K.'s extensive surveillance system. Though no definitive number is available, the British Security Industry Authority estimates there are up to 5.9 million closed-circuit cameras throughout the country. Yikes, who knows how many are in the U.S.? First, Paranoia scares us about using cell phones, and now Closed Circuit has us hiding from security cameras. We're getting afraid to go back to the movies.