PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Reviews

The Circle of Life in '360'

Is our life experience, as this film often suggests, merely comprised of a series of coincidences and situations we fall into and out of, enjoy and suffer?


360

Director: Fernando Meirelles
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Ben Foster
Distributor: Artificial Eye
UK Release date: 2013-01-14

There was a time in cinematic history when the assembling of an international ensemble cast peppered with major film stars often involved cigar-chomping Hollywood moguls with huge scripts and even huger wallets, all working within the monolithic studio system and turning out epic productions – usually war films -- full of pyrotechnic wonder (The Longest Day, Battle of the Bulge and A Bridge Too Far being excellent examples).

Based on Arthur Schnitzler’s play La Ronde, 360 also features an international ensemble cast. Alas, it's the absolute antithesis of those exciting, commercial and internationally glossy spectacles of the past. In fact, with the exception of a fairly tense and rather incongruous final scene, there aren’t really any dramatic peaks and troughs in the film at all; instead, 360 features a gentle, meandering narrative that focuses on a variety of characters in various cities around the world, all attempting to deal with relationship and career issues.

To examine these fractured lives, the award-winning British screenwriter Peter Morgan and the Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles -- the latter a recipient of international critical acclaim for his excellent films City of God and The Constant Gardener – weave together a series of well-performed vignettes, each scene showing how the various characters’ problematic lives begin to overlap.

Among them are Mirka (Lucia Siposova), a materialistic young Slovakian woman who decides, against her sister’s advice, to turn to prostitution, and John (an excellent and moving Anthony Hopkins), a British man travelling to America to search for his missing daughter. John befriends Laura (Marina Flor), a beautiful young London-based Brazilian woman passing through a Coloradoan airport on her way home to Rio de Janeiro; Laura has just left her boyfriend Rui (Juliano Cazarre) over his affair with a British woman, Rose (Rachel Weisz).

Whilst at the airport, Laura becomes distracted from John's fatherly attention by the prospect of a romantic liaison with Tyler (an intense and twitchy Ben Foster), a young American who is, unbeknownst to Laura, a newly-released offender trying desperately to fight his criminal urges.

Perhaps the biggest star to share the lead billing with Hopkins is Jude Law, who plays Michael, a wealthy businessman contemplating a tryst with the aforementioned Mirka, despite the fact that he’s already married to Weisz’s Rose. To complicate matters, it is Rose who has been having an affair with Laura’s boyfriend Rui, which was the cause of Laura leaving London in the first place.

This certainly illustrates how cyclical and complex the screenplay is, but whilst it’s initially fascinating to see how these cleverly-written characters’ lives intertwine and connect, the production’s general lack of spark leaves a whiff of stagnation as the film progresses.

That said, it’d be unfair to write off 360 entirely, and it certainly received some undeservedly harsh reviews on its initial release. Despite a lack of energy, the film still contains moments that are mature, heartfelt and wise, particularly when examining the concepts of destiny and control.

360 is essentially about the consequences of the choices we make, but it also suggests that for all our attempts to attain some semblance of control over our lives, we never really have any autonomy at all. Is our life experience, as the film often suggests, merely comprised of a series of coincidences and situations we fall into and out of, enjoy and suffer?

Without attempting to offer conclusive answers to the inconclusive and philosophical crises the film presents, the filmmakers instead acknowledge the dichotomous nature of the struggle to control essentially random and haphazard lives; this is best articulated with the inclusion of an infamously cack-handed quote, which bookends the film: “A wise man once said, if there’s a fork in the road, take it”.

In other words, we can believe we are creating order for ourselves by planning and choosing which paths to take, but we never really know what will happen to us. Like the characters in 360, we plan and we make choices, and we are then forced to endure the problems that those choices befall upon us.

Despite this, what do we always seem to do when faced with sifting through the fragments of our troubled and broken lives, which are testament to the consequences of our actions? We resort once again to yet more planning, trying to make fresh choices that best deal with the very problems that our previous decisions created – and on and on it goes perpetually, an emotional carousel, a circle – a 360.

Extras on the DVD are adequate, and include cast and crew interviews and a trailer.

5

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Music

​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.

Music

The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.

Music

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.

Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.