Drama/Fantasy/Romance | United Artists Releasing | Runtime: 108m | Rating: R
Directed By: George Miller
Starring: Idris Elba, Tilda Swinton
Synopsis: A scholar living a solitary life, travels to Istanbul for a lecture. While there she wanders into a shop and buys a bottle that unknowingly has a Djinn living inside who offers her three wishes.
George Miller directing an audacious fairy tale with a couple of A-list talents is rich with potential and for the most part, Three Thousand Years of Longing is able to deliver on that to craft a visually robust adventure filled with magic, wonder, mystery, and romance. This is the typical ‘genie in a bottle’ set-up, but it flips the script. It poses the question of the bad things that can come from having wishes. Instead of a lucky person having life changing opportunities, this story focuses on a charismatic Djinn (Idris Elba) and the concept of this entity needing to convince those he meets to take his wishes. This movie explores the history of this Djinn’s generational life, and it results in a series of smaller stories, each with their own appeal, being able to frame the substance to the larger overarching plot.
Alithea (Tilda Swinton) is a brilliant mind, and she keeps a level head throughout everything this movie puts her through. Her analytical approach to being given three wishes is both intriguing and is able to pump moments of light humor into the atmosphere of this plot. She asks this Djinn many interesting questions and for that aspect, while Swinton and Elba are conversing there is frequent appeal. They know what these roles are. They both know what this movie is, and Elba and Swinton lean into the fantastical elements with a grounded charisma that had me locked in.
Admittedly the dialogue does get a bit wordy on a few occasions. The visual splendor of this movie is fun and playful and while it does veer to the romance as needed, there were spots where the script feels a tad too overindulgent. Still, watching Swinton and Elba play inside of these characters does prove that ‘screen presence’ is certainly a thing. There are some lulls as Alithea and the Djinn explore his past and the weight of romance. But at the same time, there is a buffet of creative effects to keep your eyes constantly busy. The digital effects are seamlessly able to fuse into the real world to create a playful blend of real and fantasy. Three Thousand Years of Longing certainly feels fresh and it’s without question an eccentric cinematic escape filled with out of this world characters and creatures.
Overall, Three Thousand Years of Longing is a bold adventure to be seen on the big screen. Immediately after it starts you know you’re going to be in for a wild wide of unconventional storytelling. Something that will be hit or miss with some. But it is enjoyable and certainly led by its ambition and the performances from Swinton and Elba who showcase a natural timing you can’t help but gravitate to. Personally, I wished it would have maintained a more consistent pace because the energy does dwindle when the movie gets dialogue heavy. Yet some could find these moments where the true heart is able to shine. So, this movie does offer a little something for everyone.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2022 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.