As 360 is the opening feature at the London Film Festival, launching the 16 day event, I had high expectations for Fernando Meirelles latest production, although despite the strong ensemble cast, it was quite unexciting and monotonous.
This highly universal feature, following a variety of characters lives, from Slovakia, France, Russia and Brazil amongst others, it’s a nationally-indefinable film, with countless different languages spoken right the way through as subtitles come and go throughout.
The premise is that of following just everyday people, all of whom are embroiled in their own personal issues, some more serious than others. From a Slovakian prostitute named Mirkha (Lucia Siposova), to a British businessman (Jude Law), and his turbulent and unstable marriage with his wife Rose (Rachel Weisz), to an elderly man (Anthony Hopkins) whose daughter is missing and presumed dead, who forms an unlikely friendship with Brazilian girl Laura, (Maria Flor) whose ex-partner was having an affair with Rose. – highlighting merely a few of many conflicting storylines that appear in this film.
I suppose it’s a smart idea, as the film almost becomes a cinematic counterpart to a relay-race, as the way the different stories blend into each other feels as if a baton is being passed along.
However, despite the innovativeness shown by director Meirelles (City of God), the quick-moving drama has many flaws as a result to its fast pace. Firstly, we don’t have a chance to get to know any of the characters, leaving little room for emotional attachment. It’s difficult to empathise with their situation when you feel as if you barely know anything about them.
And, despite the films fast pace due to the switchover of numerous storylines – the feature still manages to feel quite repetitive and tedious, and dare I say it, reasonably boring.
I did quite enjoy the concept to the film however, the way the characters and stories would link together was well done (Meirelles did study architecture, after all), and, apparent due to the film’s somewhat elucidated title, it does indeed perform a 360, as it links up at the end correspondingly to how it begun. I also appreciated the camerawork to the film, with various panning shots; linking scenes together, it enhanced the 360 element, almost giving the film a revolving storyboard feel.
But ultimately the characters are undefined, and the story is lacking in any real depth, as the tales each character offers to the film are tame and insipid. However, in some ways it was quite an honest reflection upon modern society, highlighting the multiculturalism, particularly in big cities such as Paris or London.
However, it is quite difficult not to feel quite disappointed with the film, as with an impressive array of international talent, and bearing in mind the credentials of the filmmakers, written by the double-Oscar nominated Peter Morgan, it was just too lacklustre and was short in profundity.
And although the London film festival is presenting numerous wonderful films this autumn, if it wishes to be as paramount or prestigious as Cannes or Toronto for example, it’s going to need a better selection for opening feature at next years event.