Today: May 24, 2024

In City of God, director Fernando Meirelles portrayed an entangled web of flawed and damaged characters in a brilliantly executed fashion

In City of God, director Fernando Meirelles portrayed an entangled web
of flawed and damaged characters in a brilliantly executed fashion
; with its interconnected characters and linked stories of love and
obsession, 360 attempts to do
something similar – but it doesn’t quite hit the mark. Whereas the characters
in City of God were incredibly convincing, those shown in 360 aren’t nearly as
well developed, and even border occasionally on the contrived.

The film uses a circular narrative and introduces
a range of romantically-entwined characters, with the story giving us a brief
window into their lives before moving quickly on. This ‘revolving-door’ style
narrative presents us with a barrage of different people, most of whom we are
hardly given any time to get to know. As such, we are left feeling somewhat
disconnected from the story. This lack of empathy with the characters is only
made worse by the often-repetitive nature of their lives and romantic problems.
We are given glimpses of undercover affairs and misplaced desires, with the
film moving quickly from one dramatic situation to the next – rather than
creating the desired tension, though, the result is an almost farcical series
of events that are filled with characters lacking any real substance or
identity.

Despite the inherent problems with its
structure, though, the film does have some redeeming features. The acting is
excellent throughout, and the script (faults aside) still manages to create a
few tense and moving moments. Ben Foster
gives a genuinely unnerving performance as a recently released sex offender and
Jude Law’s troubled relationship
with Rachel Weisz is both subtle and
intriguing. Perhaps the most moving figure in the film though is John (played
by an almost show-stealing Anthony
Hopkins
), a damaged father with a sad story to tell. Hopkins manages to do
wonders with the script’s ropey dialogue, delivering a realistic and heartfelt
monologue in an AA meeting that brings a rare and powerful moment to the film.

Positives aside, 360 ultimately feels
somewhat hollow and pointless by the end. The full-circle structure and
over-use of ‘fork in the road’ metaphors finally shows it for what it really is:
a film that’s trying to be clever and meaningful without the substance to back
it up. If more time had been spent developing the characters and less time desperately
linking everything together, 360 could have been a much more enjoyable watch.

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