360 is one of those rare films that tries to accomplish a massive amount of things in a short amount of time. The movie follows the lives of different people from all over the world as their paths intersect and stories overlap coming full circle back to the original character. It is an ambitious vision and not one easily pulled off.
The truth is that director Fernando Meirelles does come close, but the final product leaves the audience not quite fulfilled.
The film starts out following a Czech woman in Eastern Europe named Mirkha who is trying out for an adult entertainment site. Her little sister Anna tags along and is there for support as her job turns from simply modeling into all out prostitution. Her first client is the nervous and reluctant Michael (played perfectly by Jude Law). Michael is a family man whose wife (Rachel Weisz) is cheating on him with a photographer (who is also cheating on his girlfriend). Michael instantly regrets ordering the girl and doesn’t end up meeting her as scheduled.
That one scene is the epitome of the entire rest of the movie. While multiple story lines are being juggled the key themes remain the same: love, loss and infidelity. Writer Peter Morgan seems to feel that a certain amount of distrust is universal and runs through relationships all over the world. Almost every person he throws together is either in the process of cheating, has cheated already, or is the victim of cheating.
The most interesting of these stories revolves around Laura, a 20-something from Argentina who is leaving London because her boyfriend Rui was having an affair with his boss. On the plane she meets up with an unnamed older man played by Anthony Hopkins (who chews the scenery wonderfully) who is searching for his missing daughter.
After the plane is delayed in Denver she finds herself stuck with and eventually attracted to Tyler McGregor (Ben Foster) a newly released convicted sex offender trying his best to resist temptation. Foster does an amazing job in the limited role and you could honestly build a whole movie around these three characters. Unfortunately, the film moves on, tying up the loose ends a little too quickly. Similarly, the final act allows the movie to end in a whimsical fashion all the while ignoring the horrific consequences of the previous scene.
As promised by the title the entire story does, in fact, go full circle. While there is some rewarding payoff when all is said it done, the film could have easily been cut in half or at least chosen to focus more one certain storylines. Every single member of the ensemble does amazing work with minimal screen time. But the movie is the cinematic equivalent of looking through a photo album filled with strangers. With only five or ten minutes to get to know each person what you are left with is nothing but a snapshot of who they are as a whole.
360 is a film that seems to be making a statement about the human condition; the only problem is it isn’t direct on what that statement is. It dances around the idea of morality and on some level deals with doing whatever it takes to be happy, but offers conflicting messages throughout the way. It treads so close to greatness but in the end, falls short.
Still, is it worth watching? Totally, if only to see how creatively the stories intertwine.
Watch the trailer.
360 opens August 3rd.