"360" Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law, Rachel Weisz Directed By: Fernando Meirelles
What's It About? Several interconnected stories occur throughout the world, examining the various relationships people keep with one another: A young Slovak woman and her sister get caught up in prostitution; a married couple try to hide their infidelity from one another; an old man goes looking for his missing daughter; a young photographer spies on her cheating boyfriend; a Muslim dentist struggles with his faith when he falls in love with his married assistant; a gangster's driver wants to find love; and a child molester, recently released from jail, struggles to fight his urges when he is trapped in a snowed-out airport. All of these characters converge on one another, in locales ranging from Vienna to Paris to Denver.
What's the Verdict? For director Meirelles ("City of God," "The Constant Gardener"), "360" looks as good as his previous work; his stylistic taste is still in top form and the continent-hopping locales make for a beautiful atmosphere (even an awful setting like a grungy, overcrowded airport has a kind of beauty to it under his lens). While this attempt to make a smaller, more intimate movie is filled with plenty of interesting moments, it doesn't come together like it should. We've heard the life lesson before, and ultimately, we were left wanting more. The idea of disparate characters from different backgrounds having these grand connections (literally and philosophically) has been done by better and worse movies. "360's" biggest problem is that the script doesn't link all the storylines together in a totally satisfying or clever manner. As a result, some stories get fleshed out better than others and the deprived connections feel extraneous.
However, it's worth nothing that the entire ensemble is exceptional, and the stronger character relationships are captivating to watch; most surprisingly, the best sequences involve Tyler the sex offender. Ben Foster stepped up his game immensely to create a complex, troubled and sympathetic figure. The film handles his conflict with the appropriate sensitivity, and his scenes fill you with an uneasy mix of nervousness, dread and hope. It's shocking to think such a character could be so engrossing, but we were most excited to see how the other characters would cross his path.
Watch it At Home, Watch It In Theaters or Skip It? "360" hinges on its performances and each actor delivers fantastic work. But the film's intimate nature doesn't require a viewing on your local multiplex big screen. We would recommend "360" on the strength of Ben Foster's storyline alone, but luckily he's buoyed by the always-reliable Hopkins, Law and Weisz (along with the actors unknown to American shores). It's worth checking out, but not worth a trek to the theater.
On Demand Available Online (iTunes, Amazon, Youtube, XBox) and Cable / Satellite until October 1. (Check for full listings.)
In Theaters "360" will be playing in 38 theaters across the country, including Indianapolis, Atlanta, San Diego, Houston, New York City, L.A. and more. (Check for full listings | Showtimes & Tickets)