Published Aug 02, 2012For the handful of folks that missed the memo back in the early '00s, when Fernando Mereilles and Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu splashed onto the art-house cinema scene with City of God and Amores Perros, respectively, everyone in the world is connected. Every action has a consequence and every moment of our Western lives affects someone in Japan or India, or something.
It's the sort of grade school observation that really tugged on the socially obligatory heartstrings of Oscar voters throughout the majority of that decade, with 21 Grams and Babel doing the gritty, hand-held, impending tragedy thing, much to the delight of critics and dilettantes alike.
Of course, a decade later, the message is almost redundant, as is the winding, bigger picture, tapestry of characters narrative style that floats between storylines to say something profound about the human experience and, more specifically with 360, the nature of having sex with strangers.
To contextualize, well-to-do British couple Rose (Rachel Weisz) and Michael Daly (Jude Law) both like sleeping with other people, when not performing WASP archetypes at their daughter's school play. Rose is sleeping with a Brazilian photographer whose girlfriend, Laura (Maria Flor), is none too impressed, hopping on a plane back home, where she meets an older man (Anthony Hopkins) and a convicted sex offender (Ben Foster).
Meanwhile, Michael hires nascent Slovakian prostitute Mirkha (Lucia Siposová), only to lead her down a path towards kick-ass online reviews and a distressing shag with a sleazy Russian mobster (Mark Ivanir). In the middle of this is a story about an Algerian dentist (Jamel Dabbouze) that wants to have sex with his comely, married Russian assistant (Dinara Drukarova).
All of these characters, and then some, are all tenuously connected, both literally and thematically, by the prospect of life as an endless forked road, offering opportunity and possibility at every turn. But because of the compressed runtime and compounded narrative, the psychology, philosophy and variety of signifiers leading up to this impasse are mostly non-existent.
Instead, these unremarkable, intertwined stories of hormones gone wild stick to moral admonitory, showing the dangerous domino effect of infidelity and passion impulse. No actor is given enough time to create a rounded character, just as the overall theme is limited to a glib assertion of interconnectedness through sheer convenience and expository demand.
Ostensibly, the only lesson learned is that every time you cheat on your spouse, a Russian mobster beats up a Slovakian hooker. Now that's some food for thought. (eOne)