THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING (2022)
A visually hypnotic and engrossing tale, Three Thousand Years of Longing features sensational performances from Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba, but completely loses its way in the third act, a tonal shift that fails to capitalize on the established intrigue.
When story and mythology scholar Dr. Alithea Binnie (Swinton) discovers a Djinn (Elba) in Istanbul, she cautiously listens to fantastical stories of his past as she wrestles with the three wishes offered. It can not be understated how entrancing simple conversations between two acting powerhouses can be, as is the case here with Swinton and Elba. The former’s refined embodiment of her character and the latter’s elaborate storytelling perfectly compliment the George Miller visuals and sounds with a modern twist on a familiar tale.
Where it all falls apart is in the third act, the strongest elements of the film taking a backseat to the romantic aspects of story, the pace slowing to an uninteresting crawl. The messaging about the power of stories is an incredibly interesting one to ponder, but Three Thousand Years of Longing doesn’t follow the structural strengths of historical stories with longevity in that it withers away much as the Djinn himself does when confined to his trappings. The components are there, but Miller doesn’t bring them all together. It tries to balance itself in both reality and fantasy, never quite settling in a comfortable place. It truly is a shame as the Swinton and Elba are mesmerizing for much of the outing.
Three Thousand Years of Longing hits theaters this Friday.