Director Fernando Meirelles
Starring Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins
Peter Morgan has penned some fine screenplays (The Queen, The Last King Of Scotland). This isn’t one of them, although considering his preceding effort, Hereafter, struggled to say anything terribly interesting about the after life, we can’t say we weren’t warned.
Fernando Meirelles has directed two fine films (City Of God and The Constant Gardener) but his last, Blindness (2008), focused too much on technique.
A spicy, spiky collage of sex, love and infidelity and a bracing antidote to the sickly insincerity of Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve? That’s what 360 should have been, not the bland, mushy snapshot of 21st-century inter-connectivity it’s ended up as.
Loosely extracted from Arthur Schnitzler’s play La Ronde, the film trails a butterfly-effect march of relationship ripples across the globe, kicking off in Bratislava with a Slovakian sex worker (Lucia Siposová) before zipping past, among others, her first client (Jude Law), his cheating wife (Rachel Weisz), a forlorn father (Anthony Hopkins) with a missing daughter and a just-released paedophile (Ben Foster) whose ‘I’m a rapist, me…’ warning signs are interpreted as goo-goo eyes by a fetching Brazilian traveller (Maria Flor). One of the dafter moments, although a hotel-room shoot-out that closes the circle nearly steals the honours. With too many threads to do the mall justice, 360 wallows in generalisation, stereotype and strained happen stance, with Meirelles dipping into his trick bag to mask the thematic barrenness.
It’s not a total disaster: Foster manages to be a chilling standout and there’s traction in the ambitions of a Russian gangster’s minder (Vladimir Vdovichenkov) to escape his criminal life.
But a lengthy monologue where Hopkins addresses a rapt collection of fellow AA-ers, although heartfelt and laced with autobiography, feels like it belongs in a different film – yet another of the many missteps that make 360 as vexing as it is superficial.
Banal, blundering and at times downright ludicrous, 360 is a full-circle misfire that Meirelles’ lively images can’t salvage.