c-3000years

George Miller, the man that brought you both “Happy Feet” and the “Mad Max” franchise, flexes his range yet again with his latest film, “Three Thousand Years of Longing.”

“Three Thousand Years of Longing” follows Dr. Alithea Binnie (Tilda Swinton), who, while going to a conference in Istanbul, feels drawn to an ancient artifact in a local antique shop and buys it. Upon returning to her hotel room, she discovers there has been a Djinn (Idris Elba) — an Islamic spirit — trapped inside the artifact for thousands of years in the style of a genie in a bottle. The Djinn says he will grant Alithea three wishes in exchange for his freedom. However, being a scholar and a skeptic, Alithea is cautious of the Djinn and what his intentions might be. 

In an attempt to ease her mind, the Djinn tells Alithea about each time he’s been tricked into being trapped, which also happens to be each time that he’s fallen in love. Through each story, Alithea and the Djinn grow closer and she begins to trust his magic. Thus allowing them to form a cosmic bond that almost borders on Stockholm syndrome.

My main problem with this film is the worldbuilding of the "present day," the reality Alithea and the Djinn are speaking in. The film cannot decide whether the present-day world is this fantastical utopia where magic and reality coexist and fairytale creatures walk among us or if it’s our plain reality and the Djinn is the only mystical being to exist. From the beginning, Alithea’s narration frames the story as if it’s being told in the far distant future, alluding to the fact that humans fly around on giant metal wings, leaving it ambiguous whether or not magic truly exists in this world. The film teeters back and forth throughout and just leaves the viewer — or at least this viewer — incredibly confused. 

An element of the film that I absolutely loved was the visuals. The stimulating cinematography truly immerses the viewer into the fantastical world of the film, and there are a lot of creative shots that work really well within the movie. During the flashback scenes — which are the majority of the film — the magically inventive camerawork is unrelenting but never seems like too much. There were flashbacks with such intense camerawork and editing I found myself gripping the sides of the chair in the theater in the best way possible. “Three Thousand Years of Longing” is definitely one of the most visually stimulating films I’ve seen in a while, and I praise Miller for his creative vision and direction. 

Finally, a glaring issue with the film was the ending. There are clear rules established throughout the film of how the mystical beings can operate, and the film seems to just throw them out the window in order to add more drama at the end. Without giving too much away, something that has been set up as not a big problem for Djinns at multiple points in the film all of the sudden becomes a huge problem at the end, for no real reason other than to further the plot. The ending of “Three Thousand Years of Longing” left me with more questions than answers, and I was not entirely satisfied with my movie-going experience, so much so I had to go back and take advantage of $5 Tuesdays. 

Despite needing a second viewing to fully understand this film, I did have a good time watching it. So, if you want an aesthetically pleasing film that’s great if you don’t think about it, catch “Three Thousand Years of Longing” in theaters.

culture@dailynebraskan.com