Set in Washington in 2019, the animated thriller “Silver Circle” imagines an America in which gasoline costs $150 a gallon and one local bar advertises “$90 Beer Tuesdays.” Such hyperinflation, the film argues, is the direct result of the Federal Reserve’s abandonment of a currency system based on, say, gold or silver, for one based on inherently worthless paper.
As envisioned by director/producer Pasha Roberts, a self-described anarchist, and screenwriter Steven Schwartz, the future is a mixed bag. Marijuana has been legalized, while alternative currencies have been outlawed. This means that the film’s heroes — who mint their own silver coins, hence the title — are considered criminals.
The real bad guy in the movie is Fed Chairman Victor Brandt (voice of Peter Berkrot). Along with his henchman (Victor Shopov), Brandt isn’t above having those who disagree with the enforcement of his policies beaten up, shot, car-bombed or thrown into a crematorium reserved for rebels, or those who get too curious about the way government really works.
Talk about hyperinflation. The fevered imagination of the film makes tea party paranoia pale in comparison.
When Federal Reserve investigator Jay Nelson (De’Lon Grant) starts poking into an arson that points in the direction of a sexy rebel (Philana Mia), Jay quickly realizes that he’s on the wrong side of justice. Soon he’s working with the rebels, despite the risk of being turned into a charcoal briquet by his boss.
It’s all told in a breathless, it-could-happen-here tone that makes the film feel more like agitprop than entertainment.
As for the animation, several reviewers have compared the look of the film, unfavorably, with a low-end video game. In truth, it more closely resembles one of those Taiwanese viral videos put out by Next Media Animation that turn news stories (such as the Tiger Woods scandal) into quickie, computer-generated cartoons.
Roberts has said that “Silver Circle,” which took three years to make, was relatively fast and cheap, by Hollywood standards. I’m sure he’s right. But you know what they say if you want something fast, cheap and good: Pick any two.
PG-13. At the Regal Ballston Common. Contains obscenity, drug use, brief sensuality and violence. 90 minutes.