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  • Writer's pictureWill Scarbrough

Review: Full Circle - Limited Series

An investigation into a botched kidnapping uncovers long-held secrets connecting multiple characters and cultures in present day New York City.

Zazie Beetz, Timothy Olyphant, Ethan Stoddard, Jharrel Jerome, Claire Danes, Dennis Quaid, Alex Winter, Phaldut Sharma, Jim Gaffigan, Gerald Jones, CCH Pounder & Shemar Jonas.

Full Circle is a new Limited Series by the almost always consistent Steven Soderbergh & the biggest question I had throughout all episodes was: why should I care?

The biggest flaw with the show is how it presents & “develops” these characters. It’s clear that the actors are truly giving it their all to bring some sort of depth to their characters but the writing feels nonexistent in that front. We follow these characters go through complex and complicated situations, but we follow these characters as if we already know them. This results in all tension built is completely lost and never present. I couldn’t name you one character.

The plot is difficult to follow due to the lack of interest in its writing, boring and repetitive directing that didn’t match the overall tone of the series. Steven’s style works for a more comedic season, which it definitely doesn’t shy away from in moments, but its maze type plot needs to be very specific in its directing for it to work.

Most performances really worked for me, particularly Claire Danes & Timothy Olyphant whom delivered fantastic, layered performances that made their characters more complex than the writing is. Unfortunately it does underutilise Jharrel Jerome as an actor, especially due to his past with expertly written characters, not allowing him to push himself to his fullest potential. Zazie Beetz is fun, but her writing is far from engaging.

The score is certainly one of the highlights too, building and building, being one of the best tools for tension in the series. The dialogue is fine. Thematically nothing to take from the series, so it’s never as engaging as it thinks its story is. Unless it’s all there but they’ve lost the audience before they can grasp it.

The cinematography is good, but annoying. Steven’s handheld, low angle style makes for some awkward moments. Often shot for a different genre, but lit and graded as a thriller. It certainly has its moments, however.

The production design and every productional element is to a good standard, but that is THE Steven standard. However, we spend time with these locations that it feels unfortunate that they don’t feel like characters in themselves. Which is due to the lack of depth throughout every scene.

Full Circle was a big, uninteresting disappointment. Steven Soberbergh’s style never worked for me & there is no reason to care about any character or anything happening on screen. It can be enjoyable at times due to its subtle comedy, but in moments the pacing feels like you’re pulling bricks.

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