Three Thousand Years of Longing is a movie that I love. Why? Because it dares to do something that many movies don’t; be bold. That is a good thing of course, but for mainstream movie goers it might not be. That might explain why Mad Max Director George Miller’s most ambitious movie was a cinema flop. I also think has to do with the obscure marketing which left most people wondering what the heck the film was about.
Staring the amazing Tilda Swinton as Alithea Binnie and the brooding Idris Elba as the Djinn, it’s a love story. Kinda… It’s complicated.
Alithea is a British scholar whose area of interest is narratives. It’s fitting as the movie is narrated in three stories and framed by her interactions with the Djinn. It starts with Alithea finding an ancient bottle. Of course, inside this bottle is the Djinn. A bottle he’s been trapped in three times over three thousand years. He’s released by Alithea and then grants her three wishes. He’s surprised when she refuses to use them. She tells him that Djinns are tricksters and that wishes always end up backfiring on the wisher. The Djinn then tells her three stories that show that wishes can be used for good, but often have unforeseen side effects.
The strength in Three Thousand Years of Longing is definitely in its visuals. Which is funny, because at times they can appear quite slapdash! I mean it, 90% are amazing, and some look like they ran out of budget and had to make do. Still, this is me being picky. It’s a lush and superb looking movie. It’s inventive, colourful and as vibrant as a Bollywood movie, minus the spontaneous singing, of course.
The stories take place and pivot around three historical figures. The Queen of Sheba, Suleiman the Magnificent and subsequentially his sons Murad IV and Ibrahim. These allow for a very Aladdinesq feel to them, which are both magical and fantastic.
These stories are told to Alithea in her hotel room and lead up to her finally making a wish. I won’t spoilt he rest for you. But the story is quite simple, for all its flamboyant and over the top visuals, but does ask the audience to do some thinking. I dare that that is one of the reasons many didn’t enjoy it. Which is a damn shame. Three Thousand Years of Longing is a beautiful movie with some technical marvels. The sound score and cinematography are brilliant!
I also need to point out that chemistry between Idris and Tilda. I read somewhere that it was lacking. What bollocks. They are magnetic together. Tilda brings a character who has some serious issues with her past. While Idris makes you sympathise with an entity that is almost godlike in power.
Not your standard love affair
George Miller creates a love story that is a bit more than what we see on its surface. It’s far more about the individual and their historical luggage than a straight romance. And I think that’s great. I walked out of the cinema with lots of questions and different interpretations which certainly made the experience more for me. I can see why some didn’t appreciate it as much. It’s not an action movie, or some fantasy like quest. It’s bold, though. It dares to challenge the standard conventions we, as moviegoers are so used to.
I give Three Thousand Years of Longing a solid…
If you like cinema that makes the viewer think and pay attention to detail, you’ll enjoy this fantastical love story.