360 is Fernando Meirelles' (City of God) latest picture, based on the 1897 play La Ronde by Austrian author Arthur Schnitzler. The original work takes a close look at sex and class through the encounters of a group of people whose stories intertwine and eventually come full circle. This latest adaptation follows loosely the original plot while still sending essentially the same message which is that sexual relations, no matter their significance, can, and often do, cross social boundaries. One of the big differences in the movie version is that these encounters also cross international boundaries, with the stories taking place in Vienna (where Schnitzler's play is based), Paris, Bratislava, Rio de Janeiro, Denver and Phoenix. The nationalities of the characters themselves are from even further afield with Russians and a Moroccan also an integral part of the plot.
The opening scene of the film shows a girl from Bratislava, Mirkha (Lucia Siposová), posing topless for an Austrian photographer, Rocco (Johannes Krisch), in Vienna who runs a call girl website. Mirkha and her sister, Anna (Gabriela Marcinkova), who has come along to support her, have made the journey from their home town in the hope the former can make some cash to improve her life.
Michael Daly (Jude Law) is a successful businessman from London who is married to Rose (Rachel Weisz). They live in a beautiful house in the capital however there seems to be something missing from their relationship which leads Daly to call on the services of Mirkha (or Blanca, as she calls herself professionally) when on a business trip in the Austrian capital. At the same time, Rose is having an extra marital affair with a Brazilian photographer, Rui (Juliano Cazarré). For her it's just a fling, however for the young man from Rio it's more, which leads to their breaking up. But unfortunately for Rui, his girlfriend Laura (Maria Flor) knows all about it and leaves London for her home without saying goodbye.
While on the plane back to South America, Laura meets an older gentleman (Anthony Hopkins) who is on the way to the States to identify the body of a girl who may turn out to be his daughter who ran away several years previously after she found out that her father was having an affair. The two bond despite the obvious ironic connection and agree to spend some time together in the airport after their respective flights are delayed.
However, while waiting for the gentleman (he has no name) Laura makes the acquaintance of Tyler (Ben Foster), a recently released sexual convict on his way to a rehabilitation programme. In a desperate attempt to make herself feel worthy again, she begs Tyler to kiss her in their hotel room at the airport but, clearly a man whose morals have changed, he refuses and gives himself the chance to reintegrate into society by escaping.
The final chain of events revolves around those characters not born in any of the destinations featured in the film. An Algerian dentist in Paris (Jamel Debbouze) has developped strong feelings for his married assistant Valentina (Dinara Drukarova) but quite apart from any general human morality issues, his Islamic values are being put to the test and he confides in both his imam and a psychiatrist. Valentina's husband, Sergei (Vladimir Vdovichenkov), is a driver for a Russian criminal known as the boss (Mark Ivanir) and one day ends up having to drive his master to Vienna where he plans to meet a girl called Blanca. It is at this point the whole story wraps up and some of the stories come together.
Although the scenario does indeed complete a full circle, there are several other moments in the film where the stories cross. There is nothing particularly new and original in the concept, but the adaptation is unquestionably successful and there are some noteworthy performances from Hopkins, Foster and Flor. While neither a feel good flick nor as groundbreaking as City of Gods it's definitely one to see this summer.
Date : 01/08/2012
Average price: £10.00