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"360": Global Connectedness Has Never Been So Boring 

Wednesday, Aug 8 2012

Is there something intrinsic to these wide-net, "We're all connected" ensemble movies that makes their authors think they need to address every human conundrum in the world? The vast, split-screen-slashed 360, directed by Fernando Meirelles from an overreaching screenplay by Frost/Nixon screenwriter Peter Morgan, is an alleged descendant of the granddaddy of social cross-section dramas, Arthur Schnitzler's play La Ronde, in which the narrative focus is baton-passed between sexual partners. But in contrast to Schnitzler's fin-de-siècle Vienna, 360 spreads its characters across various points of the global-capitalism grid, beginning in Vienna and moving from Bratislava to Paris to London to Denver to Phoenix, before retracing its steps. Much of the film takes place in airports, with Ben Foster as a recently released sex offender, Maria Flor as a freshly dumped flirt, and Anthony Hopkins as a whispering Briton. Such slick and impersonal settings suit Meirelles's fondness for shooting characters through panes of glass, which, one supposes, is meant to say something about modern alienation from our bodies, for it is part of screenwriter Morgan's conceit that the important points of contact here are not of a sexual nature. There are fleeting moments, like a fine end-of-the-affair scene from Rachel Weisz (unfaithful to husband Jude Law), but Morgan's narrative promiscuity leaves 360 feeling only spread out and empty.

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Nick Pinkerton


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