(110)5.72 h 9 min200118+
A sexy and smart exploration of the circuit party scene.
Dirk Shafer
Andre KhabazziBruce VilanchDaniel Kukan
English [CC]
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Supporting actors
Darryl StephensJim J. BullockJonathan Wade DrahosKiersten WarrenNancy AllenPaul LekakisRandall KleiserWilliam Katt
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4.6 out of 5 stars

110 global ratings

  1. 74% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 16% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 5% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars

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Top reviews from the United States

Duane SimolkeReviewed in the United States on January 4, 2003
3.0 out of 5 starsA beautiful, glossy nightmare
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Director Dirk Shafter offers a beautiful, glossy nightmare, with a dazzling soundtrack and wild camera angles. When John, played with perfect innocence and occasional disgust by Jonathan Wade-Drahos, suffers a gay-bashing at the hands of the very police force he serves on, he decides to move to L.A. and spend time with his gay cousin, Tad. Driving down the streets of L.A. and seeing openly gay men holding hands in public makes John smile. But then, when he arrives at Tad's house, he receives his first glimpses of a party scene that can destroy relationships and lives.
Despite his attempts to the contrary, John soon becomes caught up in the drug culture of Circuits-huge weekend parties for gay men. Besides making an incredible amount of money for the organizers, these events often provide a setting for drug trafficking, often leading to unsafe sex. Considering that the events cater strictly to gay men, all of that leads to the spread of HIV. As one character ironically points out, the events sometimes promote themselves as fund-raisers for AIDS, or as places where condoms and safe-sex messages make their way to the gay male community.
John has two tender, stabilizing relationships: one with his former girlfriend, and one with Tad's former boyfriend. Unfortunately, the less healthy relationships threaten to destroy him. While focusing on that plot, the movie also focuses on Tad's work as an amateur filmmaker who wants to make a documentary that exposes the dangers of the circuit scene. Even while filming interviews that show it at its worst, Tad still sees the scene's appeals, and the surprisingly positive sides of it. Will the two men survive their party world? I won't give that away, but I will say that the movie raises valid questions about a real scene with real allure and real dangers.
The acting needs more emotion at places, but Dirk Shafer does a great job weaving his tale through the music and images that attract certain gay men to the circuit.
One complaint about the DVD-a "play all" option always helps when offering a long list of deleted scenes or other features; hitting the remote every few seconds can get tiresome, even for people who usually commit channel surfing. Repeated viewings of this movie shouldn't get tiresome, though. Shafer offers a controversial depiction of a segment of the gay male community, one that will probably receive more recognition as we examine the impact of the circuit scene on a group that already lost way too many people to drugs and AIDS.
(Duane Simolke's books include The Acorn Stories, Degranon, and New Readings of Winesburg, Ohio.)
5 people found this helpful
David ColvinReviewed in the United States on June 9, 2008
4.0 out of 5 starsParty hard?!
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I saw this at the Reel Pride festival last November (2001), and couldn't stop thinking about it for days afterward. While it's been called a "wake-up call" to some members of the gay community it doesn't come off as didactic as it could. Instead you find yourself caring about the characters and wondering what will happen to them after the movie ends.

The only thing wrong with the film is the intended main character, i.e., the cop who leaves the repressive and hostile smalltown life for the wildlife of West Hollywood. While his character is not a static one, the changes that take place in his life seem to come as a result of his passivity rather than any active move on his part. This isn't helped by the bland and vanilla acting of Jonathan Wade-Drahos. Andre Khabbazi as the jaded Hector on the other hand brings much to his character, and so Hector becomes the one your heart goes out to. Wade-Drahos acting aside, this is a well-told story, and one that merits a wide release. Check it out as soon as you can. As for me, I can't wait for the video.
6 people found this helpful
JKReviewed in the United States on February 28, 2015
5.0 out of 5 starsThe characters are attractive and relatable with good acting. The film does a good job capturing ...
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The characters are attractive and relatable with good acting. The film does a good job capturing the good and bad of the circuit scene and nuances of love and dating anyone can relate to. I love the fact this film is not preachy but lets the storyline speak for itself. The music is awesome too: I bought the CD. I also think the introduction to Officer John is typical of a lot of gay people's experience when he left his job in a small town for LA. Given some of the negative reviews here, I want to add that you can't expect every gay film to only portray the gay community as a white-washed mainstream version of itself: this film is about a gay party subculture that has its excesses, not unlike the rest of Hollywood to be honest.
Michael L. WiersmaReviewed in the United States on January 8, 2005
4.0 out of 5 starsOne of those guilty-pleasure movies...
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that turns out to be great.

The characters are many and well fleshed-out (literally and figuratively) and the story is compelling and interesting.

There are some movies that just bore me because I don't CARE about the characters. This movie is not one of them. I was rooting for just about all of them, even as they spiraled down past anybody's help (or almost, in some cases.)

The movie-within-a-movie was a wonderful showcase for the characters to explain their point of veiw and showed them often at their most vulnerable, for all their posturing about how invincible they thought they were.

There is A LOT of drug use. Perhaps it is accurate. It was hard to watch because you could see the characters deteriorating.

There is a wonderful touching scene between John, the main character (who looks like Clark Kent) and Hector, his hustler friend (and perhaps his true love) in a limo toward the end of the film. Okay, so I LOVE Hector. Sue me.

There are also wonderful performances by the character of Nina, who is John's college girlfriend (now roommate) and Paul Lekakis, of "Come On Over to My House" and "Boom Boom Boom" fame from the '90s.

The movie is done very well overall. There are some noticeable issues with the synchronization of the sound, but that's a minor flaw.

Well done and interesting. Recommended overall.
8 people found this helpful
Terrance RichardReviewed in the United States on August 8, 2008
5.0 out of 5 stars"A Film About The Dangers Of Drugs"
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"Circuit" takes the lid off of the problem of substance abuse in the gay community, a problem many don't want to discuss. The film takes place during different circuit parties in the Los Angeles area, and the movie explores why gay men abuse drugs and the ultimate outcome of a dangerous habit. The script is surprisingly strong and the acting contains one of the best ensembles in a gay themed movie. "Circuit" also contains a ton of deleted scenes, director's commentary, and the trailer. The film runs over two hours. Highly recommended. "The New York times" calls it "...powerful...handled with intelligence and care.".
5 people found this helpful
Jerry DunhamReviewed in the United States on July 13, 2012
5.0 out of 5 starsI'm Ready. Let's go to WeHo.
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This is one of the most stimulating movies I've ever seen. The atmosphere of constant erotic tension without ever showing any actual 'all the way' scenes is truly an extrodinary accomplishment. It's sort of like going to the bars/baths thirty years ago. Think I'll move to a trailor park in LA and see if I can pick up on some Muscle Mary's. I never knew until now,but,Me like 'em! Do you think they'd like a frumpy old goat like me? This has a great performance by Taylor Dayne on the soundtrack.I think that is her in the movie,too,the line checker.Chiao!
Jake ZReviewed in the United States on April 15, 2004
4.0 out of 5 starsEye opening look at circuit life
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CIRCUIT is an interesting movie that paints a picture about many facets of certain gay lifestyles. I say that because it is not a representation of EVERY gay life. This movie focuses on the 'circuit boys' and the people in their lives. The movie centers around many circuit parties, but it's more than just parties. The movie is rich with exploration into each character.
The movie starts with a man who is a cop in a midwestern town where he grew up in, who leaves his cop life behind and moves to West Hollywood and opens up his repressed past and accepts it. He experiences the circuit life, and everything involved. The drug use, the heavy interest in physical appearance and beauty. He falls from grace and deals with the consequences of his drug use and overall lifestyle change.
However he is not the only character we get to know. There's a lot of different characters you get to know through this movie, and you truly get a sense of who they are and why they do what they are doing. The movie deals with a lot of ideas about the fear of getting older and not being the hot young thing anymore. I thought it was brilliant, the filmmaker making a movie within a movie really worked well and emphasized the point of the movie all that much more.
An entertaining movie that will open your eyes. Thankfully, it is not representative of the whole gay population, just a fragment of it.
4 people found this helpful
Luis HernandezReviewed in the United States on January 9, 2003
2.0 out of 5 stars"Showgirls" Meets West Hollywood/Chelsea
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What do you get when you cross realism with an ultra-campy script and lots of dancing, half-naked people? Well, the answer to this question is "Circuit," but if you also said "Glitter," and/or "Showgirls" you are also correct. "Circuit" is the sophomore effort of former Playgirl Man-of-the Year turned film director, Dirk Shafer, who previously directed a small 'mockumentary' called "Man of the Year," which discussed his trials and tribulations of being the object of desire among Playgirl's women readers, although he is gay.
Covering a series of 'circuit' parties in Southern California, "Circuit" covers the life of a small-town gay cop named John (played by Jonathan Wade-Drahos, who looks amazingly like Pierce Brosnan) who moves to Los Angeles in order to live a much more open life. Moving to Los Angeles, John meets up with his cousin Tad, an amateur filmmaker who is filming a documentary on attitudes and life on the circuit party scene.
While in Los Angeles, John finds himself delving in the decadent lifestyle common among many in the circuit scene. From drug use to hustling, John gets acquainted with the help of new found friend and hustler Hector (Andre Khabbazi) which allows the viewer to see changes in his character. With a slew of other forgettable characters, the film progresses somewhat like a crash and burn sequence where we see the principle character try to discover himself through the means of reinvention only to begin a recovery of his former self in order to live a more meaningful life with someone who can love him for himself and not for his appearance.
While many characters such as Bobby (Paul Lekakis) an HIV+ dancer who has little ambition in life and Gino (played by William Katt of the television cult classic "The Greatest American Hero") do add some substance to this film, "Circuit" fails in many attempts to capture many aspects that makes it a stand out as a realistic film. Due to a small budget, a cast of mainly amateur actors, and a very campy, and a predictable script, "Circuit" succumbs to these factors. I must admit that Shafer does a good job of covering drug use (the close-up, rotational views of a Special K bottle reminds me of Spanish director Pedro Almodovar's internal close-ups of normal, everyday objects in his films), but the film's overall art direction, the poor quality of the film used, the sappy selection of dance songs used throughout the film (except for Taylor Dayne's song, where are club legends such as Victor Calderone, Junior Vasquez, Thunderpuss, and Peter Rauhofer on this soundtrack?) and the short coverage of the actual party circuit causes the film to fizzle before its' time is up.
Although most of the actors are not Oscar-calibre thespians, four performances stand out in the film. Veteran actors William Katt and Nancy Allen (they had previously worked together in the horror classic "Carrie") are always great together, especially Katt who plays a seedy circuit party organizer/drug dealer. Paul Lekakis' character of Bobby does have some highpoints in the film, however the true standout in this film is Andre Khabbazi. As Hector, Khabbazi truly has a wide range of emotions that indicate that he has had some extensive dramatic training, and his overall appearance validates the film's message that in the 'circuit' beauty is everything.
The 'circuit' might be considered the "Superbowl for gay men," but due to the above factors, "Circuit" the film is like the "Showgirls for gay men." Campy, predictable, weak script, and plenty of overacting, especially by Daniel Kucan ("Tad"), "Circuit" is a film that hits and misses not only when it comes to quality, independent filmmaking, but also when covering today's party/circuit scene. Again, I give the director and his team credit for some creative camera angles, some accuracy in covering the theme, and providing viewers with a morale, but "Circuit" falls short of what many encounter after a weekend of hard partying.
6 people found this helpful
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