The well-credentialed team of filmmakers includes director Fernando Meirelles (The Constant Gardener, 2005) and screenwriter Peter Morgan (The Queen, 2006) but their collaboration winds up as less than the sum of its many moving parts. The script is adapted from an 1897 play, La Ronde, that Max Ophuls covered onscreen in 1950 with star Simone Signoret; Roger Vadim did the same 14 years later with Jane Fonda but employed a new title, Circle of Love. What goes around, as everyone knows by now, comes around.
This type of plot device, similar to that of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Babel in 2006, emphasizes how connected we all are no matter the abundance of alienation plaguing humanity. 360 adds a generous dollop of carnal desire to the messed-up mix. In Austria, the potential high-end Slovakian prostitute Blanca (Lucia Siposova) doesn’t ever pleasure her first customer, Michael (Jude Law in tortoiseshell glasses), because he’s threatened with blackmail by a business colleague. His wife Rose (Rachel Weisz), meanwhile, is back in England sleeping with a Brazilian stud (Juliano Cazarre), whose girlfriend Laura (Maria Flor) has grown tired of his infidelities and departs for her Rio hometown – inexplicably, by way of Colorado.
|Jude Law and Rachel Weisz in 360|
Back in Europe, the dentist (Jamel Debouzze) is a widower struggling to reconcile his Muslim faith with the lust he feels for hygienist Valentina (Dinara Drukurova). The advice he gets from a mosque official, sounding right out of West Side Story, is essentially “stick to your own kind.” Valentina is unhappily married to Sergei (Vladimir Vdovichenkov). He’s the driver for a brutish Russian mob boss, which causes him to stumble into the lives of Blanca and her sister Anna (Gabriela Marchinkova). This roundelay is no romp. The tone remains grim and full of nasty forebodings, few of which come to fruition. A bigger problem: Dental office drama aside, a viewer’s teeth might start to ache when trying to discern who these people really are and why we should care about them. Other than Hopkins, who spills his guts in a largely unsympathetic performance, the cast members seem vague about their roles. The always intense Foster is an exception, while tapping into a bit of his crazy-street-person routine from 2011‘s Rampart with Woody Harrelson.
|Fernando Meirelles - Director, 360|