Movies that rely too heavily on symbolism sometime elude me. I won’t lie about it; I’m probably not smart enough to pick up on some of the stuff that filmmakers are using as metaphors. But, it’s always been my belief that movies are there to entertain first and foremost and teaching and preaching should come second. Well, in the new movie from Ryan Harper, Circulation, the symbolism is there and, if I hadn’t been paying close attention, I might have missed the point of the film.
Circulation is really the story of Ana, a Mexican woman who’s trying to get rid of an abusive ex-husband. When her car breaks down in the desert and the ex, along with a couple of friends, kidnaps Ana, there’s a car accident leaving Ana with a broken arm and looking for help. That help comes in the form of Gene, a man traveling to Cabo San Lucas in a cheap camper. The two begin an uneasy journey through a very strange landscape. It’s only through a preamble to the film, in which we learn that Gene has been dead for some time, that we suspect that this isn’t really earth and something very strange is going on. As the movie unfolds, it becomes more and more obvious that Ana and Gene are on the road to reincarnation and both are being prepared for their new roles on earth, Ana as a caterpillar and Gene as a spider.
While the acting is strong and the look of the film is great, it felt like Gene and Ana’s journey was taking quite a long time. The idea that the two were in purgatory isn’t communicated clearly, but alluded to several times, and while the surreal quality of much of the movie gives you the idea that this isn’t the earth we’re used to, it’s not clear enough to make it obvious, so the movie had me moving between, ‘yes this is definitely somewhere different’, to ‘what the hell is wrong with these people’, and even after it became obvious that Gene and Ana are changing and what they’re changing into, it’s less obvious what the ex-husband is changing in to and why he’s obsessively chasing his ex-wife.
Now, don’t get the idea that I hated this movie, quite the opposite, I thought Circulation had a great message, but just took a bit long to get there. Ana’s character is never fully realized, she does things that make sense one minute and then make no sense whatsoever the next. I think Circulation had a great idea, but needed to either be shortened a bit, or rewritten for the thicker of us out here. I’m giving Circulation two out of four cigars, because I hate to see a movie with potential not live up to what I thought it might have been. You can check it out for yourself by heading over to the Circulation movie website. So, until next time, when I’ll still be wondering why so many people are being reincarnated as flies and why I feel like throwing up on my snack, remember that the best movies are bad movies.