A Realistically Depicted Slice Of Life Drama
Set in the bleak Canadian wilderness, Circle Of Steel is a dark comedy, following the life of those working for Paloma Oil as they go about their work whilst trying to find purpose in their life. At the heart of this mundanity is Wendy Fong, a woman desperate to make the most of her life while frustrated at her inability to progress in the company she works for.
Despite being dubbed as a dark comedy, Circle Of Steel isn’t a particularly funny film. What it does do really well though, is deliver a realistic slice of life drama full of well-written characters and relatable segments. After a brief opening that gets us accustomed to the characters, and in particular Wendy, a company email is sent to the remote area the trio of workers are in, informing them there will be company wide lay-offs. Worried and convinced they’ll be out of a job soon, the workers reflect on their time at the company and try to make the most of a bad situation. With this issue playing heavily on their minds, it’s not until the final chapter that we learn the fate of these employees.
This isn’t going to be a film for everyone and Circle Of Steel is methodically paced, littered with repetitive shots and long, drawn out segments. This does work really well though to empathise the mundanity Wendy feels in her day to day routine but is also going to be something that’ll make or break the film for you. Some of the editing here is pretty good too, with one moment involving Tinder utilizing a split screen and swiping edits, typifying these stylish segments. Stylistically at least, Circle Of Steel does well to back up its good acting and realistically depicted plot with a welcome dash of flair.
While the film does have its slow moments, as a character driven title Circle Of Steel does surprisingly well. The chemistry between the actors feels natural and Chantelle Han plays Wendy perfectly, juggling subtle hints of impatience with empathy and hopefulness.
As a slice of life drama, Circle Of Steel is a well written, slow paced examination of life as an oil worker. Although some may be put off by the lack of drama and slow pace, for the most part Circle Of Steel does well here. Those who enjoy character driven dramas are likely to get more out of this one but the good acting and neat little stylistic ticks should be enough to see you through to the end.
Verdict - 7/10