Too many lovers spoil the plot in this banal film



00:50 GMT, 10 August 2012

360 (PG)
Verdict: Good actors run round in circles

Here is the first film collaboration between Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles and British screenwriter Peter Morgan.

Morgan is best known for writing The Queen and Frost/Nixon.

Meirelles burst on to the scene with City Of God in 2002, and followed it up three years later with English-language hit The Constant Gardener.

The run around: The actors are all over the place in this tangled love affair

The run around: The actors are all over the place in this tangled love affair

Sadly, 360 lacks the vibrancy or excitement of City Of God or the craftsmanship that has distinguished Morgan’s work at its best.

This is yet another tired variant on La Ronde. Arthur Schnitzler’s play has long attracted film-makers to imitate its circular structure: A sleeps with B, who sleeps with C, etc, until J sleeps with A.

It all begins in Schnitzler’s home city, Vienna, with two Slovakian sisters being prepared by a photographer-pimp (Johannes Krisch) for the older one to embark on a life of prostitution.

Her first customer is a British businessman (Jude Law), who ducks out of the encounter and returns to his wife in London (Rachel Weisz). She, however, is having an affair with a toyboy photographer (Juliano Cazarre), who’s cheating on his girlfriend (Maria Flor). And so on, around the globe.

The weakness of the screenplay is that it gives the actors little time to establish character or generate audience involvement as they confront the issues of falling in and out of love.

The character who appears most three-dimensional is an elderly British man (Anthony Hopkins) struggling to come to terms with the possible death of his grown-up daughter.

Though the movie fails to deliver any other memorable characters, it might have been at least a film of ideas.

But Meirelles and Morgan never come up with any profound statements about love, choices or fidelity.

Since the film runs only slightly under two hours, its banality becomes bothersome.