360 is a multilayered story of an ever-shrinking globe
Starring Ben Foster, Rachel Weisz, Anthony Hopkins, and Jude Law. Rated 14A.
The title 360 symbolizes the new movie’s circular story line, but it could also easily stand for the circumference of an ever-shrinking globe.
The most compelling aspect of Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles’s ambitious, multiyarned film is the way it reveals the aching injustices of a world now hyperconnected by cellphones and high-speed transportation. Too often, sex and violence are the main currency for a person from a poorer country to make it in a richer one. And so, bouncing between Austria, France, the U.S., and Britain, the interlinking chain of stories includes a Slovakian hooker (Lucia Siposová) who takes the long night-bus ride to service rich conference attendees in Vienna; Riu (Juliano Cazarré), a cut young photographer who is banging an older magazine editor (Rachel Weisz), with the hope of a staff job; and Sergei (Vladimir Vdovichenkov), the Russian-born driver for a mob boss who treats him like a dog.
Inspired by Austrian playwright Arthur Schnitzler’s similarly circular play Reigen, and with the episodic feel of Babel or Crash, 360 is consistently engrossing but not always emotionally engaging. A few of screenwriter Peter Morgan’s stories, such as the stagnant marriage of Weisz’s editor and Jude Law’s travelling businessman, have characters too briefly sketched to care about. But other vignettes are intense, the most breathless involving a snowbound airport, a tormented and just-released sex offender (the quietly menacing Ben Foster), a reckless and recently jilted Brazilian girl (Maria Flor), and a father (Anthony Hopkins) haunted by the disappearance of his daughter.
All the interlocking characters face a decision that will change their lives. Not all the choices they make, thankfully, will be what we wish for, although at least a couple tie up a little too neatly to believe. Still, 360 never feels gimmicky, and the multilayered interactions are served well by judicious use of split screen.
The most rewarding way to watch the film is to note the contrast between the choices faced by the well-off characters versus those who have to sacrifice body and soul. In the perfect circle of life, it seems, there are many incongruities.
Watch the trailer for 360.