Movie Review: '360' -- 2 stars
Directed by Fernando Meirelles
Starring Anthony Hopkins, Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Ben Foster
The ensemble drama is such an overused method of storytelling that it's hard not to greet the latest movie about a broad range of characters and their overlapping lives with anything less than healthy skepticism.
"360," about strangers suffering across two continents, is a predictably tired enterprise, with its brief snippets of compelling content undone by the overarching blandness.
Given the talent involved, that's a shame. Somehow, the movie falls apart despite usually reliable director Fernando Meirelles ("City of God"), a script from the Oscar-nominated Peter Morgan ("The Queen") and a cast headlined by Anthony Hopkins, Rachel Weisz and Jude Law.
The actors give what they can to their thankless parts. Hopkins' soul-baring monologue during an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting is a genuine highlight. But they're let down by a script that tenuously connects its various strands and by Meirelles' disinterested direction, which opts for hokey split screens and an overwrought cosmopolitan slickness to compensate for the middling content.
The late, great filmmaker Robert Altman mastered this sort of thing in movies like "Nashville" and "Short Cuts," in which his multitudes of characters were connected by a unifying conceit: An exploration of Hollywood's dark side, say, or the intersection of Southern politics and country music.
There's no such conjoiner here. So we're left with flimsy plot threads that simply don't add up. Hopkins plays a dad searching for his missing daughter. Weisz and Law are a cheating couple. For good measure, the movie throws in the travails of a Slovakian prostitute (Lucia Siposova), a sex offender (Ben Foster), a lovesick dentist (Jamel Debbouze) and many others.
The closest the movie comes to spelling out its theme is through voiceover that says, "If see a fork in the road, take it." When a famous Yogi Berra malapropism is a movie's idea of wisdom, you know it's in trouble.