My lasting impression of this film is be careful of who you talk to in airports – you never know what murky secrets they may be concealing.
And the characters of 360 are certainly a dubious lot that I would hope to avoid in real life. I struggled to find sympathy for any of them; they strike me as a bunch of rather desperate people making some questionable choices.
360 is one of those films where the lives of the characters are interwoven and the story wraps round and comes 360, back to where it began. It’s a popular genre these days but in 360 it is more like a series of people passing one another in the street or a crowded airport.
The DVD jacket calls the film a ‘gripping kaleidoscope of interconnected love and relationships… suspenseful and mesmerising’. But the love and relationships could be more accurately described as sex and infidelity of shady characters; almost everyone is engaged in some sort of sexual activity. And they are almost all shady, both the underworld criminals and the naughty people who cheat on their partners.
Unfortunately, the gripping, suspenseful and mesmerising aspects were also lost on me. Far from a thriller, this film plodded along sedately so I felt that if I needed to step away for a bathroom break or possibly run down to the post office, I wouldn’t have missed much on my return.
360 begins with promise. I found the opening scene both disturbing and sad. A woman, Mirka (Lucia Siposová) poses for topless photos. She is accompanied by her younger sister, Anna (Gabriela Marcinkova) who watches uncomfortably. The photos are taken by a sleazy fellow called Rocco (Johannes Krisch) who sports a greasy-looking grey ponytail and yellowed teeth. Mirka is excited about her new lucrative prospects and Rocco plays along, lewdly suggesting at the end what she might do for him to improve her chances. Outside the building, prostitutes loiter on street corners in what is clearly a sketchy part of town. Surprisingly, this is Vienna.
Had the film continued in this style of confrontation and disillusion it would have been more hard-hitting. It reminded me of Taken; an eye opener into the dark underbelly of organised crime in the lovely streets of Paris. But in the subsequent scenes of 360, the appearance of a bespectacled Jude Law quickly allays any butterflies in my stomach because I find it impossible to see him as a villain of any sort. Sorry, Jude, it just isn’t your style.
Law plays a businessman who hires Mirka for the evening but then doesn’t go through with it. His wife, Rose (Rachel Weisz) is back in London and has far less restraint; she’s bonking someone else. He in turn has a suspicious girlfriend… and so the connections are made and the story unfolds. The characters include several dodgy European businessmen, three photographers, a dentist, a sex offender, a father carrying a heavy burden of guilt, and various partners and family members.
Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law, Rachel Weisz and Ben Foster are the headliners but not the stars of the film. There are about 12 main characters and each is essentially a supporting member. Locations crisscross Europe and America, including Vienna, Paris, London and Denver, and were filmed with only the cast members necessary for each location. Some of the actors never met one another during filming at all.
In all, they give convincing individual performances, in particular Siposová as a woman who makes the dubious choice to join an escort agency as a means of getting ahead in life; and Hopkins and Foster as men struggling to let go of the past and look to the future.
360 received mainly negative reviews with one reviewer calling it “Europudding” and another suggesting viewers do a 180 and run. If you have the time, check it out. Or, when you next catch a plane, have a yarn to your fellow passengers and see if you can make some dodgy connections of your own.
Director: Fernando Meirelles
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law, Rachel Weisz and Ben Foster
DVD release: 12 December 2012
Rated: MA 15+