Is there something intrinsic to these wide-net, “We’re all connected” ensemble movies that makes their authors think they need to address every human conundrum in the world? The vast, split-screen-slashed 360, directed by Fernando Meirelles from an overreaching screenplay by Frost/Nixon screenwriter Peter Morgan, is an alleged descendant of the granddaddy of social cross-section dramas, Arthur Schnitzler’s play La Ronde, in which the narrative focus is baton-passed between sexual partners. But in contrast to Schnitzler’s fin de siècle Vienna, 360 spreads its characters across various points of the global-capitalism grid, beginning in Vienna and moving from Bratislava to Paris to London to Denver to Phoenix, before retracing its steps. Much of the film takes place in airports, with Ben Foster as a recently released sex offender, Maria Flor as a freshly dumped flirt, and Anthony Hopkins as a whispering Briton. Such slick and impersonal settings suit Meirelles’s fondness for shooting characters through panes of glass, which, one supposes, is meant to say something important about modern alienation from our bodies. There are fleeting moments, but Morgan’s narrative promiscuity leaves 360 feeling only spread out and empty.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 1, 2012