out of Five
Running time: 115
360 is handsomely shot and features a number of strong performances, but the script never quite engages on an emotional level, the individual stories lack dramatic impact and there are some annoyingly pretentious moments.
What's it all about?
Directed by Fernando Meirelles, 360 is loosely based on Arthur Schnitzler's La Ronde and features a host of diverse characters dotted across a variety of picturesque locations, whose paths all cross to some degree as a result of the emotional decisions they make. The story begins with English businessman Michael (Jude Law), who bails out of hiring new-to-the-game Slovakian prostitute Blanca (Lucia
Siposová) while on a business trip to Vienna. Back in London, Michael's unfaithful wife Rose (Rachel Weisz) ends her affair with hot young Brazilian Rui (Juliano Cazarre), but not before his disgusted girlfriend Laura (Maria Flor) sees them together and leaves him.
Deciding to take a plane home, Laura has an encounter with John (Anthony Hopkins), a recovering alcoholic searching for his daughter, before getting picked up by newly-released sex attacker Tyler (Ben Foster) in a cafe in Denver when their flight is stranded by a snowstorm. Meanwhile, John attends an AA meeting where fellow attendee Valentina (Dinara Drukarova) is debating whether to leave her husband Sergei (Vladimir Vdovichenkov), whose gangster boss Sasha (Mark
Ivanir) is sleeping with Blanca, thereby completing the perfect circle the title alludes to.
The performances are strong throughout, with Hopkins probably the standout largely thanks to an engaging central speech he apparently semi-improvised with details from his own life. Foster delivers a suitably twitchy performance as Tyler, though why Laura allows herself to be picked up by the world's most obvious sex offender is anyone's guess. In addition, the film is beautifully shot, courtesy of cinematographer Adriano Goldman, though the film doesn't exactly exploit its various locations, preferring to stage most of what action there is in airports, bedrooms, cafes and so on.
The main problem is that, because of the structure of the film, we spend such little time with each character that it's difficult to really care about any of them, so the story never quite connects on an emotional level. It also doesn't help that most of them are unsympathetic to start with; ironically, the one character and storyline you care most about (Jamel Debbouze as a Parisian dentist in love with his assistant, Valentina) gets the least screen time.
On top of that, nothing all that exciting really happens, so the film's pretentious voiceover waxing lyrical about the importance of the choices you make seems largely pointless.
This is watchable enough thanks to the cinematography and performances but it fails to satisfy on an emotional level thanks to a lacklustre, over-populated script.