360 - DVD Review
Review by Rob Carnevale
PETER Morgan claims to have been inspired to write 360 in reaction to both the global financial meltdown and the Swine flu epidemic – two cases of contagion that showed how ‘flat’ the world has become.
Rather than explore either of those two inspirations, however, he has opted to look at love through the eyes of a set of seemingly unconnected people, living in different countries, whose paths will inevitably cross in some small way.
And yet the ensuing film, directed by Fernando (City of God) Meirelles, is a curiously cold and soulless affair that seems stitched together through ugly contrivance and a shaky grip on reality.
Taking Arthur SchnItzer’s La Ronde as another vague source of inspiration (namely, the sexual angle and the starting and finishing point involving a prostitute), Morgan and Meirelles then proceed to offer a globe-trotting tale of love, deception, soul-searching and loss.
The film begins in the company of a fledgling Bratislavian prostitute (Lucia Siposova) who dreams of a better life and then throws a British businessman (Jude Law) into the mix as her first potential client.
Law, however, is dissuaded from going through with the meet after she is identified by his business colleagues as a hooker, prompting him to go home and call his wife (Rachel Weisz) and declare his love for her.
Little does he know, however, that Weisz is herself involved in an affair with a Brazilian photographer, whose own girlfriend has reached the end of her tether and decided to head back to Brazil alone.
Also thrown into the mix is an alcoholic father (Anthony Hopkins) searching for his missing, presumed dead daughter, a newly released sex offender (Ben Foster), a put-upon chauffeur (Vladmimir Vdovichenkov) for a Russian Mobster and a love smitten Muslim dentist (Jamel Debbouze).
But as strong as the creative talents who have combined for this movie undoubtedly are, very little of what unfolds on-screen rings true.
Morgan’s world view also appears to be highly cynical as most, if not all of the characters arrive at their various connections as a result of infidelity or worse… leaving viewers with practically no one that’s really worth rooting for.
And while the writer may argue that he ends the film on a note of optimistic hope, the scene in question feels tacked on and as horribly contrived as many a Hollywood rom-com, only more uncomfortably so given the nature of what’s come before.
The big, lingering question here is whether any of the principal characters actually deserve to find happiness.
Worse still are the number of scenes and scenarios that feel utterly unrealistic – such as the chance meeting at an airport between Foster’s aforementioned sex offender and the Brazilian photographer’s girlfriend, who quickly proceeds to get him back to her room and pretty throw herself upon him. And why? Because the Foster character is apparently ‘cute’.
Then there’s the notion that another attractive young lady would get in the car of an unknown Russian bodyguard and run away with him merely because they had a good time together driving around a city while sheltering from the rain.
Morgan may be examining the notion that the world is now increasingly multi-cultural and border-free, yet he seems to forget that it’s possibly even more dangerous as a result… and this despite populating his film with dangerous characters.
But then can we really blame the characters in question for being so naive, when the script they’re working from is just as naive, if not downright silly?
Coming from a writer of Morgan’s formerly undisputed calibre, this is a hugely disappointing ensemble drama.
Running time: 115mins
UK DVD Release: January 14, 2013