To be completely candid, this film, directed by Oscar-nominated Srdan Golubovic, is one highly depressing tale. The story, based on a true event, centers around Marko, a young soldier living in Bosnia 1993. During that time, the country was rife with a cultural war between the Serbs, Croats, and Muslims, and that hostility made itself known in a random act of violence. Despite the story's center on Marko, the character is in the film for less than 15 minutes.
The title of the film, Circles, is apt for a variety of reasons, one of which is touched upon by Marko's father. The film begins with a hyper-focused intensity on one storyline, and as the film progresses, the circle opens wider to explain how the three seemingly unrelated stories are, in fact, very much related, rather like intertwining circles.
The performances from the various actors, notably Aleksander Bercek as Marko's father and Leon Lucev as Haris, were pretty on par for a film that centers around the ideas of guilt and atonement. Despite the majority of the film being highly depressing, there is a bright spot or two if you squint. Otherwise, it's as if each character and Murphy's Law are best buddies.
Despite how much I enjoyed the intricacies of the ever-widening circles, the subtitles could use a small overhaul. Some of the translated English is awkwardly phrased and contains occasionally misspelled words, which ruined a potentially moving scene on more than one occasion. The cinematography is interesting in that Circles is fairly muted and heavy on the browns in Bosnia. However, the scenes set in Germany often have brighter spots of color here and there. As the story progresses, those bright spots become more muted and turn into a bit of a mockery of the events occurring.
Circles is a complex story with many layers for the viewer to enjoy, just don't watch it if you're already having a bad day. I'm rather curious to see what else this Serbian director comes up with in the future.