Seven years ago, the world went wild over George Miller’s “Mad Max Fury Road” movie. Fury Road dominated the award season back in 2015 with nominations for Best Picture, Director, Film Editing, Production Design, Costume Design, Makeup, Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing. The film was one hell of a comeback tour for George Miller who had gone years without a smash hit movie. However, Miller’s comeback tour seems to be short-lived as the writer/director haven’t done a film since that 2015 hit.
There was a lot of hype behind the film “Three Thousand Years of Longing” given its strong cast of Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba along with George Miller’s involvement. Inspired by the 1994 short story by the English writer A.S. Byatt, Miller, and his daughter, screenwriter Augusta Gore have the makings of a passion project that had a lot of heart into the crafting of the film but the film is missing a soul along with its identity.
“Three Thousand Years of Longing” is a film about a lonely British scholar named Alithea Binnie (Tilda Swinton). Alithea is your typical career-driven woman who doesn’t have any family or loved ones in her life. During a trip to Istanbul, Alithea purchases an antique bottle where she accidentally unleashes a Djinn (Idris Elba) that was trapped within it.
The Djinn offers to grant Alithea three wishes if they are at her heart’s desire but Alithea argues that wishing is a mistake and refuses to make any wishes as a result. After accusing Djinn of being a trickster, He proceeds to tell her three tales of how he ended up trapped in the bottle. The Djinn was cursed to be a Genie and cannot break it without fulfilling his duties and granting all three wishes.
Alithea listens to Djinn’s stories to decide if making a wish against her better judgment is the right call or deciding if there is something far bigger at play.
“Three Thousand Years of Longing” is a film that tries to say a lot of things about life and love but says much of nothing. George Miller utilizes fable storytelling to engage audiences about the trials and tribulations of love. Alithea, our protagonist, is an older white woman who is the quintessential career woman. A person who claims to be happy to be alone, yet her reality is the exact opposite.
Alithea is someone who has made her career their entire life and has made no room for a family. As a result, Alithea is at an advanced age and is incredibly lonely. The reason why she refuses to make any of her three wishes is that at this stage of her life she has nothing that her heart desires as she has closed off the world to our own hearts.
In contrast to this, the film is broken down into three origin stories about Djinn About how his character ended up with this fate, and how he is lost in love not once but three different times.
The movie’s biggest problem is that its protagonist is the least interesting character in the film. We spend most of the film sympathizing and understanding the character motivations of Djinn, but we never reciprocate the same feelings with Alithea due to the fact that she is in her current predicament by choice. She is a character who’s too smart for her own good yet too close off to be relatable. The final act of the movie focuses more on Alithea as she seemingly decides to give up on loneliness and wishes that Djinn Can love her. When the film switches the narrative back to her character, the momentum shift is noticeable, proving that they’re too uneven characters playing on the same plane.
Obviously, the shortcomings in the story are no fault of the actors, as both Swinton and Elba are incredibly accomplished to be given the benefit of the doubt. It is the writing by Miller and his daughter that leave empty feelings in the gut of audiences after watching the film. The film is a love story that is supposed to follow two characters from two different worlds but we never get the connection that makes their relationship seem believable to the viewer as if something is lost in translation.
For a 60-million-dollar film, the visual effects are hit or miss throughout the movie. The set and costume design look stellar, but the actual effects of the visual magic, as well as some of the editing, need improvement.
“Three Thousand Years of Longing” Is a film that can’t shake the feeling that it is an unpolished idea. A film that needed a couple of more drafts to work out some of the shortfalls in its storytelling. George Miller’s first big film in 7 years isn’t a bad film that is in desperate need of doctoring.
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