Circle of Deceit
Directed by Volker Schlöndorff
Shot on location in the still smoldering streets of Beirut, Circle of Deceit is a film of riveting tension and passionate eloquence now available for the first time on US DVD and video. Director Volker Schlandorff (The Legend of Rita, The Ogre, The Tin Drum) combines war film verve, documentary immediacy, and a "superb cast" (The Christian Science Monitor) to yield a violent yet character-rich film that's both politically charged and personally moving.
Grateful for a respite from his imploding marriage, Hamburg newspaperman Georg (Bruno Ganz - Luther, Wings of Desire) arrives in civil war-torn Beirut to chronicle the bloody Lebanese war. Inside a shell-pitted hotel, Georg and his photographer colleague Hoffman (cult director Jerzy Skolimowski - Deep End, The Shout) join a cynical international coterie of competitive fellow journalists. Outside, they take their lives in their own hands, dodging both Christian and Palestinian bullets and conducting interviews that are always just a trigger pull away from becoming executions. When Georg's affair with a beautiful German ex-pat widow (Fassbinder icon Hanna Schygulla) evolves into something more than an indulgence, Beirut's bloody whirlpool of brutality threatens to claim Georg's neutrality and his civilized self-control.
Without taking sides or pulling punches, Schlandorff's meticulous direction renders both the lethal chaos of urban warfare and the moral tug-of-war of modern Mid-East politics with equally sensitive precision. Probing an ethical minefield of journalism, exploitation, war, and murder, Circle of Deceit is hauntingly compassionate, shockingly realistic, and "a superior film in every respect." (Leonard Maltin, Movie & Video Guide)
"(four stars)" - Leonard Maltin, Movie & Video Guide