’360′ Review: Not Quite the Perfect Circle

johnvalle November 9, 2012 0
’360′ Review: Not Quite the Perfect Circle
  • Cast
  • Cinematography
  • International Influences
  • Storyline
Director: Fernando Meirelles
Peter Morgan (Screenplay), Arthur Schnitzler
Adriano Goldman
Music Department:
Robert Burger
Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, Ben Foster, Lucia Siposová, Gabriela Marcinkova, Johannes Krisch, Jamel Debbouze, Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Mark Ivanir

 As the cinematic industry has become an unbelievable empire, the influences of filmmakers are constantly at an international level. Since the introduction of sound in the 1920s, people making movies have been engulfed with worldwide inspirations. Without German Expressionism some of the greatest figures in the industry, such as the British born Alfred Hitchcock, may have never found their place on the big screen. The French New Wave (La Nouvelle Vague) brought about the brilliant Robert Bresson and Jean-Luc Godard, who both drastically influenced the industry with their innovative techniques.

The one fact about great filmmakers that have managed to enjoy a long and prosperous career is that they have a clear vision. Everything in the film has a purpose and everything has a reason; from the camera angles and sound techniques to the compositions of the frames. This has proven to be incredibly hard to achieve, many films that strive for this social status somehow fall a bit short. One movie that fails to reach its goal is the feature 360. Released to theaters in the late summer of this year, Fernando Meirelles’ 360 is a film that has enormous potential, yet remains steady in the shallow end.

The Storyline:

Inspired by Arthur Schnitzler’s novel La Ronde, 360 combines a modern and vibrant roundelay of stories compiled into one. Characters from different cities and countries around the world are linked together in a vividly suspenseful and deeply moving tale of love in the 21st century. Taking place at first in Vienna, the film beautifully weaves the audience into Paris, London, Bratislava, Rio, Denver, and Phoenix. All of these destinations combine into a single arresting narrative where everything eventually comes full circle… hence the title.

The Good:

The Cinematography

There are few films that I deem worthy of calling brilliant in defining its cinematography. Today so many big screen features lose the artistic nature that makes movies so great in the first place. Of course everyone has different opinions of which techniques and styles are more attractive, yet the chaotic cuts and incredibly quick edits so prominent in today’s industry are, more often than not, far from pleasing. For the Oscar nominated director, Fernando Meirelles, the choice of Adriano Goldman was one of the best decisions he made. The entire film is visually stunning. As soon as the feature began I fell in love with the picture. The framing of the characters, the camera movements leading into transitions, the subtle focus and de-focus of shots, the lighting, everything visual about the film was cleverly beautiful. It is clear that a great deal of thought and energy was put forth in the cinematography as it proved to be great. Where the film lacks a spark Meirelles makes up for in a very artistic manner.

The Okay:

The Cast

There are a great number of cast members that are featured throughout 360; however, none of them are really main characters.  With numerous stories containing multiple roles all leaking into one another, you would imagine it to be hard identifying or connecting with any of them. As the film carried on introducing and re-showing characters I found it surprisingly easy to relate with all of them. They were incredibly subtle, but literally every character provided a fantastic portrayal that left a resounding kinship by the end. With a heavy juxtaposition of international influences, I found the cast to be refreshing rather than overwhelming. They also managed to avoid becoming invisible in such a large ensemble. Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, Ben Foster, Gabriela Marcinkova, Lucia Siposová, Maria Flor, Jamel Debbouze and Vladimir Vdovichenkov are just a few of the major characters featured in 360. Although all the actors are great, their talents are still undermined by how everything connects – there are too many different stories to tell. The overall film suffers because you want to see more of the characters. Some individuals had such strong roles, yet were not given the ability to make a strong influence on the picture. This is where the film lacked a spark.

The Story

As a multiple layered storyline is always a complex attraction, it can be easy to get lost in the wrong area. Everything needs to fit together seamlessly with a great deal of thought and vision providing the foundation. Upon reading into the story line before the film began, and then experiencing it first-hand, I was so very hopeful that a wonderful tale would unfold from a successful circle. Midway into the feature I realized this was more and more likely not going to happen. There was too much attention paid to the connections of all the different characters rather than the characters themselves. Some were more of a “McGuffin” than a pivotal piece to a puzzle. They were introduced, continued the plot, but had absolutely nothing to do with anything important. I found the weaving of everything to be great, yet the heart of the feature failed to consistently beat. If the screenwriter and the director (Peter Morgan and Fernando Meirelles) would have put more time into the roles of the cast rather than focusing on how deeply they all connected, the film potentially could have been great. The entire time I felt as though something was missing, and it was the relationship between actors and viewers. The connection needed to be stronger to really work for a story line containing so much depth and it fell short in 360 to do so.

Overall Score: 3/5

Entering the film I had anticipations of a successful feature, but soon was let down. The story line failed to reach a strong connection as it lacked enthusiasm with the roles of the characters. The cast, on the other hand, is brilliant. Each is great for their short features, yet missed an overall hit with the heart of the viewer. On a bright note the cinematography is absolutely stunning. Every shot is framed beautifully, making the film a visual masterpiece. Overall if you are looking for a film to pass the time then 360 will surely suffice; however, if the intentions are greater than the movie will more than likely be a disappointment as it was no award-winning premiere.

’360′ Trailer