[Review] – 360

27 Aug

Title: 360
Year: 2012
Director: Fernando Meirelles
Writer: Peter Morgan
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, Ben Foster
MPAA Rating: R, sexuality, nudity and language
Runtime: 110 min
IMDb Rating: 5.8
Rotten Tomatoes: 20%
Metacritic: 43

Fernando Meirelles got some much deserved attention and recognition (including an Academy Award nomination) a decade ago when he gave us City of God, which he made in and about his native Brazil and that certainly stands amongst the finest films to have come out in the new millennium. Then three years later he used all that fame and made his first film in English, The Constant Gardener, which turned out to be a seriously terrific film that, while not as great as his previous one, certainly established him as a director that was more than worth checking out.

Then came Blindness back in 2008, which was, for sure, a big step down for him. The film had great ideas, and it was provocative on how it portrayed a few of them, but the fact of the matter is that the premise deserved more, and that the film itself felt as though it thought it was doing it all. Still, I was certainly curious as to what Mr. Meirelles was up to next, which turned out to be 360, a film I just saw and that, I’m quite bummed to report, doesn’t see him returning back to those great heights he once so masterfully reached, but instead is another step down for him, and the first film of his that I’ve seen that I actually wouldn’t recommend.

What makes the bummer even worse is that not only is this a bad film from a director I like, but it also comes from a script by Peter Morgan, the guy who wrote The Queen and Frost/Nixon. And that’s not even mentioning the cast, which includes the terrific Rachel Weisz, who won her Oscar for The Constant Gardener and already gave one of the best female performances of the year so far in The Deep Blue Sea; Jude Law, who can be stellar when he wants to; Anthony Hopkins, about whom I don’t think much needs to be said; and Ben Foster, who’s just sensational and really should be a much bigger name by now. So, yes, the fact that 360 turned out to be a disappointment really is a bummer.

The film is supposed to be about interwoven stories depicting the romantic relationships of very different people, and it’s evidently thought up as this big dramatic piece with really exciting ideas thrown around, but I just though it was kind of dull, to be honest. I mean, you have this insanely great bunch of people working both in front of and behind the camera, with this film that’s supposed to be weighty as far as the scope and themes it touches upon, and yet you get a film that feels rather flimsy and kind of shallow, like a bad copy of some Alejandro González Iñárritu film. Again, it was quite the bummer.

Granted, the film opened at last year’s TIFF and the word wasn’t overwhelmingly positive back then or it would have made a run for awards last season, and granted, it’s not as though this film is horrible (it’s just not very good), but still, I can’t help but feel disappointed. The film was inspired by a play that’s over a hundred years old, and you have this escort who meets her clients in hotel bars (like all escorts in films seem to do), and you see her in Vienna where she meets this English businessman with whom you then stay until he goes back home to his troubled marriage, and from there you stay with his wife who’s having an affair with a Brazilian guy with whom you then stay… You get the gist.

That kind of structure could have actually worked wonders if done properly. Examining these sexual relationships between people of different gender, class and race could have really made for a solid analysis of some issues societies nowadays face. Instead, 360 is the type of film that feels super satisfied with itself just for being able to pull of the inter-locking story lines schtick, not really caring about what it said with them, just that it got to show them. The script doesn’t do these characters (and certainly these actors) any justice, being far more worried with them acting in weird ways just so that they can get from Point A to Point B in the quickest of fashions so that (oh, wow) we see ourselves in a new city with a new character in the blink of an eye. That’s just not how it works.

Yes, Mr. Meirelles and Mr. Morgan want to say stuff about desire, about globalization, about class, and at first I thought they were going to be able to pull it off, but it then got to the point in which they seemed to be jumping from one character to the next just because they could, and not to give some kind of narrative momentum to the proceedings at hand at all. To be fair there are a couple of scenes here that really work, and that maybe show what this film may have otherwise been, and I don’t know if it was poorly edited or if the studio got its hand in or what, but it’s just not the end product that we got.

The pedigree might have been off the charts, but 360 just doesn’t deliver the goods. It’s not a horrible movie by any means, it’s just that you have a great writer who seems to have taken this on like an exercise in his profession rather than to make an actual movie, and you have a great director who didn’t know how to put it all together, and you have great actors who really try hard here but are given characters that don’t have enough material or time to make a lasting impression. Again, this was just quite the bummer.

Grade: C+


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