Director: George Miller
Writers: George Miller and Augusta Gore
Starring: Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton
George Miller’s latest film, his first since Fury Road, is the romantic fantasy Three Thousand Years of Longing. It’s a visually stunning film, that doesn’t really have enough substance to back that up. Tilda Swinton stars as Alithea, a narratologist, who travels to Istanbul to give a talk on the subject. While travelling she finds a bottle, that contains a Djinn (Idris Elba). The Djinn needs Alithea to ask for three wishes in order to gain his freedom, while Alithea knows
Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba are both fantastic, making the story feel completely believable with their dedicated performances. There is a lot of chemistry between them, and they are both completely believable in their roles. The emotional weight is in their conversations within Alithea’s hotel room. There’s a lot of really great character building throughout the conversations.
Visually the film is stunning, with great effects and cinematography. The flashbacks showing the Djinn’s past all look really great, with intricate sets and costumes. The magical powers are spellbinding to watch. It’s just a shame that the story doesn’t match up with how great everything looks. The opening of the film with Alithea arriving in Turkey and seeing spirits during the lectures leads you to believe this is going to be a fantastical adventure, and instead it turns out to be a much more understated love story.
Once it gets going, the story is nice and sweet, and the ending really works nicely. Throughout there’s very little obstacles and hardships in the main story, with most of that left for the flashbacks. Once you realise that so much of the story is just the Djinn retelling his life and there’s just not much more to it, then it all becomes a bit tedious. It feels very dragged out and would work a lot better as a short film. Maybe the short story it’s based on is better, but I can’t comment on that as I haven’t read it.
While it has a nice sentimental ending, it does takes it’s time getting there. The film is nowhere near as adventurous or fantastical as the trailer (that claims this was from the ‘mad genius’ George Miller) suggests, and instead is a more straight forward story that long outstays its welcome.
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