A stellar line up, with the likes of Jude Law, Rachel Weisz and Anthony Hopkins to bring gravitas to the ensemble. A script implementing the current trend for cyclical interrelated character threads. The award-winning director Fernando Meirelles (City of God, The Constant Gardener) paired with scriptwriter Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Queen).
And yet, 360 did its rounds on the Film Festival Circuit last year without making much of an impact.
360 is a very loose interpretation of Arthur Schnitzler’s 1897 sexual circle play La Ronde. In the style of films from Babel to Love Actually, 360 presents us with a kaleidoscope of interconnected love and relationships linking characters from different cities and countries. Starting in Vienna, we see the cause and effect of Jude Law’s decision not to sleep with the prostitute he’s hired echo across the world.
As is evident from the title, one grasps from the offset that the film is set to offer a weary cycle of bad decisions and overactive libidos. As we move from Vienna to London to Denver, the real shame is that the film finds nothing new to say about the human condition and relationships. It’s one cheating cliche after another as we’re met with betrayal, mistrust, and isolation; culminating in the overarching message that sex is just another form of trade and barter.
We lurch clumsily from thread to thread as on-screen tricks and transitions feel like someone playing with new tools in the editing suite. Meirelles may be attempting to construct a social theory of global relevance but the under-developed characters and underwhelming finish render it redundant.
Perhaps part of the problem is that we don’t feel anything towards the characters concerned. It’s clear that Jude Law is relishing his ‘understated’ role in an ‘intelligent’ drama. But, if the film proposed to chart the territory of relationships and allow a 360 view, it should really have shed a light on the full gamut of human emotion.
To deal with Jude Law as a weary businessman, and his hiring of a prostitute whilst his wife (Rachel Weisz) cheats with a hunky Brazilian photographer, it would help to understand a little more of the tangle that has led to where they currently stand. By giving us only the merest glimpse of their discontent, we’re just left glum in the belief that everyone cheats and all the world is a back-room housing unwise attempts at human connection.
The other threads of this sorry tale similarly lack conviction. We meet a seemingly intelligent and attractive young woman who makes the somewhat rash decision to invite a twitching, monosyllabic convicted sex offender (Ben Foster) back to her hotel room. Elsewhere a book-smart teen (Gabriela Marcinkova) goes on a driving tour of Vienna with a complete stranger.
I had higher hopes for Hopkins as the father still searching for his long-missing daughter. This was the only strand of the piece that piqued my interest as he looks to work out his regret and inadequacy by doing right by a young girl he’s only just met. But, an overworked speech at an AA Meeting put his character in my bad books along with the others.
All in all, this is a feel-bad montage. Whilst the film promises a 360 view, one is left with the partial portrayal of the globe as a seedy bed of shady proceedings. Even worse, the lacklustre script and characters mean you just don’t care!