360

13 Mar

360 poster

 

Director: Fernando Meirelles

Writer: Peter Morgan (screenplay)

Stars: Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins

Motion Picture Rating: R

Runtime: 110 minutes

 

The director Fernando Meirelles comes to this film with the hugely impressive City of God (2002) in his personal archive and the writer Peter Morgan with The Queen (2006) and Frost /Nixon (2008) on his CV. They make a high powered pair and certainly everything about this film is polished and professional. It also has a strong cast with big English thespians Law, Weisz and Hopkins on board. The omens are good and the theme is ambitious; a ‘moving tale of love in the 21st century’.

The film opens with a scene of a Slovakian girl auditioning in Vienna for some form of online escort service. It is a seedy business and the girl, and audience, is made to feel more than a little uncomfortable. Having followed her back to Bratislava, the film changes focus and moves to Paris and then to London. As a study of 21st century love, the film jumps around cities and characters and ultimately also takes in Denver and Phoenix. The stories roll into each other in some clever ways, but not every story enthralls. All the while there is a truly quirky and jazzy soundtrack that accompanies what at times feels like a bit like a ‘70’s travelogue.

In the early sequences we encounter mostly disloyal and unhappy couples. The lack of love is acutely demonstrated by London couple Weisz and Law. They are very good actors and very watchable together in this, although not on screen for long. More time is spent with other frustrated characters, but some of those are paper thin. Possibly the best character is the just out of prison sex offender played by Ben Foster. His story is oddly riveting and the film benefits from delving into darker territory. At that point Hopkins’ role as a grieving parent is also introduced and his portrayal is about the most watchable turn that he has completed for years.

What is it all about? Well, it addresses random connections and the modern collective sense of alienation, but probably is more concerned with encouraging its audience to open up to chance encounters. As such it is too earnest at times and the more upbeat final third produces one or two clichés too many. This is not a bad film, but there is not much new on display and apart from the odd mild shock, it is simply not challenging enough. Considering the film-makers, the cast and the subject matter, I see that as a missed opportunity.

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