Describing itself on iMDb as a “vivid, suspenseful and deeply moving tale of love in the 21st century”, 360 by erstwhile Cidade de Deus (City of God) director Fernando Meirelles is a veritably trite affair that despite its arthouse and Altman-esque pretensions is only a step above such star-studded atrocities as Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve.
The film depicts the various romantic tribulations of a multi-generational, multi-national ensemble cast as they jet around the world, ‘randomly’ run into one another and have improbably intimate interactions in airport lounges, hotel lobbies and other such cinematically apposite locales. A twenty-something girl (Flor) leaves London for her native Brazil to embrace promiscuity after her boyfriend (Cazarré) cheats on her once too often; a woman nearing middle age (Weisz) ends her affair with aforementioned boyfriend — who else? — while in Vienna her husband (Law) resists picking up a prostitute; an old man (Hopkins) looks back at his adulterous life with regretful wisdom in a monologue delivered at an AA meeting in backwater USA…
360 is painfully formulaic and tries to mask the fact that it has absolutely nothing original, meaningful or even charming to say with a pseudo-complex plot of parallels and interconnections rendered only more artificial and blatant through heavyhanded cinematic techniques such as the overused and highly irritating split screens. Cidade de Deus was a sensational film in so many respects — the scriptwriter Bráulio Mantovani went on to pen the not-so-borderline fascist Tropa de Elite (which, yes, did win the Golden Bear) and Meirelles to make this… what happened?
360 | Directed by Fernando Meirelles (UK/Austria/France/Brazil 2011) with Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins, Ben Foster, Moritz Bleibtreu, Jamel Debbouze, Juliano Cazarré, Maria Flor. Opens August 16.
Shorter version of review originally published in the July/August 2012 issue of Exberliner