Friday, 3 August 2012
If you were to look at the film poster above, you would be forgiven for thinking 360 was some tense, against the clock thriller. Which makes the shock of the type of film it actually is all the more baffling. Especially when you consider Fernando Meirelles' previous work, most notably one of the best films of the last 10 years, City of God.
360 tells the tales of several people stretched across the globe; from London, to Vienna, to Paris, to Colorado, to briefly Meirelles' homeland of Brazil. It strives to get across the idea that we're all connected to each other in some way, shape or form. Furthermore it shows the impact this domino effect has on our lives, along with the relationships towards the people close to us. Sadly for 360 a lot of it felt a bit too familiar, not a million miles removed from the basic concept of the Richard Curtis cheese-fest, Love Actually. Or the star-studded features like New York, I Love You and its sister movie, Paris, Je T'aime.
Where it comes into its own however is in its more mature, darker tone along with several compelling performances, including Jude Law, Rachel Weisz and a personal favourite of mine Jarnel Debbouze (probably best known for his supporting role in the modern French classic, Amelie). The best example of this interconnectedness was Ben Foster's newly rehabilitated sex offender from Colorado caught in a compromising position with Brazil's Maria Flor's wandering traveller after a chance encounter in an airport. Much praise must also go to Anthony Hopkins journey as recovering alcoholic who is dealing with the pains of grief and regret and how it can become a choke hold on your life.
That's not to say the film is all doom and gloom as it has some rather sweet moments, while not being detestably cringe worthy like the aforementioned Love Actually. One stand out moment involves the utterly bonkers situation of a mob thug encountering the charming, educated sister of a prostitute and both deciding on a whim to ride off into the sunset together.
360's main problem however, or perhaps just my problem with these types of films, is it felt like Meirelles had several potentially brilliant stories that he just couldn't decide which one to make first. So he clumsily mashes them all together and hopes for the best. To his credit sometimes it worked, others might leave the audience thinking it's a bit too rosy or ridiculously convoluted. Nevertheless the dialogue was well scripted - jumping seamlessly between the adult subjects covered, while still allowing itself to be slightly whimsical and optimistic - and beautifully shot at times. But then you'd expect nothing less from the man who made City of God.
While the performances are mostly compelling and the presentation was tidy, when the credits eventually role on 360 you'll be left thinking you've seen it all before. The darker and more mature themes makes it stand out against its like minded features but ultimately 360 is a mostly forgettable experience. But sadly like the film's core theme it's a genre which will come full circle time and time again.
360 is in selected cinemas across the UK now. Belfast readers can see it in the Queens Film Theatre from Friday August 10th, 2012.