This edition of Direct to DVD Dissection presents this direct-to-video suspense film, “Columbus Circle”.
Cops investigate a murder at a high class Manhattan apartment after a tenant is found dead. The neighbor, an agoraphobic heiress named Abigail Clayton, is soon confronted by the lead detective over any information on the incident. Soon after, a new couple moves into the vacant apartment, much to the dismay of Abigail. After they do, though, Abigail encounters some strange events that forces her into a dangerous situation.
Selma Blair as Abigail Clayton, a wealthy heiress that has disappeared from public view and has closed herself off from other people with the exception of her family confidant and building concierge. Blair has appeared in both Hellboy movies, and did a voice over in the two animated movies, and appeared in the 1998 film Cruel Intentions.
Jason Lee as Charles, one half of the couple who move next door to Abigail. Part of Kevin Smith’s film clique, he’s also appeared in films like “The Incredibles”, “Stealing Harvard”, and The Alvin & The Chipmunks film trilogy. He also starred in TV shows like “My Name is Earl”.
Giovanni Ribisi as Detective Frank Giardello, the lead detective that stirs Abigail from her seclusion. Has appeared in such films as “Gone in 60 Seconds”, “Avatar”, and “Saving Private Ryan”. He’s also appeared in Lee’s “My Name is Earl”.
Beau Bridges as Dr. Raymond Fontaine, Abigail’s closest friend and family confidant, who is one of the only people Abigail speaks to. Son of actor Lloyd Bridges, Beau has carved his own path in acting, appearing in various movies and TV series, including Lee’s “My Name is Earl” series.
As Direct-to-DVD movies lose less of their stigma of being the destination of fallen stars and newbie actors fresh out of acting school, you get movies that have some impressive casts. A movie like this can make people think they missed a big theater release during the hype of the Oscar contender or CGI family movie. We have a movie that isn’t a genre film, has some noticeable names in the main part of the cast, professional looking camera angles and good looking locations.
Now, the movie revolves around the area of misdirection. As a suspense (thriller) film, especially one involving a whodunnit plot over a death, there are a lot of potential motives or reasoning for the murder. The movie exploits that potential through the suspects, motives, and what ends up getting ruled out or strengthened, adding to the intrigue of each scene. Notably strong moments of suspense over what happens with the couple and over Abigail’s sickness impacting her life are felt throughout the film.
As mentioned earlier, the cast here is really strong. Selma Blair gives a great performance as Abigail. Along with that, you have Lee giving an interesting performance in both his friendly initial appearance and later on during the more heart-racing moments of the film. The cast, from top to bottom, deliver in this movie, even if the words themselves comes off as cliché at times.
A minor issue that hangs with the film depends on some of the writing. Since some lines are cliché and plot-points look textbook, some people might have less excitement when watching the movie, having figured out the plot of the movie. It’s also badly in need of DVD extras to keep you invested. It only offers subtitles in English, Spanish, and French. Other than that, complaints are at a minimum.
It’s a movie that has some retreaded territory, but with a strong cast and some interesting turns; it delivers a great movie experience. Check it out.
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