Director: Fernando Meirelles
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins, Ben Foster, Maria Flor
Running time: 110 minutes
Synopsis: The lives of strangers from across the glove interweave as they each find themselves at points of crucial decision…
Chance and coincidence are the order of the day in Fernando Meirelles’ new ensemble drama, which sets out to investigate how and why we find ourselves on certain paths. It’s a relatively interesting concept for the most part, but hardly original. It’s been done before and better – Paul Thomas Anderson’s MAGNOLIA springs to mind – but the film’s biggest selling point is that it marks Meirelles and Rachel Weisz’s second collaboration, with their previous movie THE CONSTANT GARDENER nabbing an Academy Award for Weisz. But those expecting another powerhouse performance from Weisz will be sorely disappointed. As brilliant as she is in 360, her appearance is brief, much like everyone’s, with each character dipping into the story before they’re whisked away again in favour of a new protagonist and predicament.
That’s not to say there’s no hope for awards season. In fact, 360 has ‘For Your Consideration’ written all over it. The film is packed with stellar performances, several of which may catch the Academy’s eye, most notably Anthony Hopkins’ turn as the gentle father of a missing girl, and Ben Foster’s portrayal of a rehabilitated sex offender. Performances alone, however, do not make a film alone, and 360 suffers under the weight of its own concept.
Whilst most of us face decisions every day – the rather ambiguous idea at the script’s core – they mostly consist of which bus to take or which flavour Pot Noodle to buy. When we only spend 10 minutes with any given character, it’s crucial they are faced with more challenging decisions to maximize drama – consequently, 360 is packed with adultery, prostitution, unrequited love, and the threat of violence. Interesting sure (and at times, seriously tense due to Meirelles’ careful and considered direction), but Peter Morgan’s screenplay stretches the boundaries of plausibility over and again. The interconnected stories also ramble on for far too long, and just when it seems to be wrapping up nicely, it… well, doesn’t. Though engaging for the first half and helped along by some stunning performances, 360 is never quite as unique of original as it thinks it is. Chances are you’ve seen this kind of Oscar-bait before.
360 arrives in UK cinemas 10th August.