My latest at The Drum, which went live last week, used the release of The Circle to look back and older movies that have dealt with issues of privacy, secrets, and surveillance:
Privacy has been a long-running theme in movies throughout the history of Hollywood. The idea that we’re all being spied on and surveilled in various ways has made for rich fodder for filmmakers to feast on, playing on our fears that someone at any given time is watching.
This week’s new release The Circle is just the latest example of that. The movie, based on Dave Eggers’ 2013 book of the same name, stars Emma Watson as Mae, a young woman who lucks into an entry-level job at Circle, a massive tech company that’s a search engine, social network and more, basically Google + Facebook with other startups mixed in as well. She becomes entangled in the inner-workings of the company and is shown by Ty (John Boyega) that the ultimate goal of the company, especially founder Bailey (Tom Hanks) may not be as altruistic as Circle’s public image would have people believe.
With The Circle’s message of “knowing everything is better” in front of us now and feeling immediately relevant as we click more and more “I agree to these terms of service” boxes without reading them, not knowing where our digital activities are being tracked, it’s a good time to look back at some of Hollywood’s previous efforts to convey privacy issues.