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George Miller’s ‘Three Thousand Years Of Longing’ Perfectly Captures The Essence Of Storytelling

“Three Thousand Years of Longing” is inspired by a short story written by A.S. Byatt and is a one-of-a-kind watch. The movie is helmed by George Miller, who is hailed for delivering masterpieces like “Mad Max,” “Happy Feet,” “Lorenzo’s Oil,” and “Dead Calm.” John Seale did a wonderful job as a cinematographer and has left no stone unturned to make this movie a visual treat. I watched the movie last night, and I thought I’d be doing a grave injustice to all the hard work that the actors and directors put into its making if I didn’t ignore my desperate yawning and lay out my true feelings for the flick. So, here it goes.

Spoilers Ahead


A Narratologist And A Djinn

Tilda Swinton fills the shoes of Alithea Binnie, a narratologist. She goes to Constantinople, modern-day Istanbul, to give a presentation at a symposium, and there she finds a colorful and deformed vial at one of the stores she visits to pick up a memento. After returning to her hotel suite to rinse the vial, Alithea accidentally releases a primitive Djinn who, while initially monstrous in form, quickly masters English by sifting data from Alithea’s MacBook with the magic of his fingers and diminishes to a more humane height. The Djinn tells Alithea that he can make her three desires come true if she really wants them, and with that, he’ll be liberated. However, the former begins to doubt Djinn’s sincerity when she remembers the many legends that warn against making wishes. In return, the Djinn tells her a slew of anecdotes concerning the ones he has served and the desires they had expressed, in the same way, Genie did with Aladin. These tales reveal well-known lessons about love, jealousy, and ambition. Though the manner in which these events are phrased in “Three Thousand Years of Longing” may appear to be forced, the film’s essence is presented with highly passionate embellishments, and it’s no doubt a cinematic joyride.

“Three Thousand Years of Longing” packs a lot of drama into its 108 minutes, much like “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” does, and manages to tell all of Djinn’s experiences with his prior masters as well. Though it fits the movie’s theme for Djinn to recount many of his personal encounters, one questions whether the gravity of these anecdotes might have been considerably amplified by letting the settings and individuals speak for themselves. Nonetheless, the movie’s vivid and lively cinematography by “The English Patient” alum John Seale, in addition to its vibrant and fascinating ensemble and emotionally charged settings, renders it a visual treat with a storyline rich with nuances to gnaw on if you know what to dig for.


Talks a Lot About Desire

The Djinn’s stories, as the title implies, span many centuries, starting with his entrapment by King Solomon, who, upon seducing the beautiful Queen of Sheba, sealed him in a jar and tossed him into the bowels of the deep sea, never to be found again. Thereafter, “Three Thousand Years of Longing” travels in time as the Djinn is passed from master to master and meets several people while simultaneously being thwarted in his attempts to get loose. Despite their apparent differences, the memories of Gulten, a commoner who was madly in love with Prince Mustafa; Murad, a homicidal warrior, as well as Ibrahim, who is pressurized to wear the Ottomon crown; and Zefir, a masterful but separated theorist who befriends the Djinn to gain eternal knowledge just like Dr. Faustus, tell us a lot about what humans really desire.

Djinn’s yarns are interrupted by Alithea’s curiosity; while the majority of these talks are necessary for setting up and expanding on the Djinn’s tales, there are a few that are prolonged and get monotonous, particularly at the start. But the film’s notions of longing and wishes are sprinkled throughout Djinn’s previous encounters, resulting in a spellbinding final act that serves as the climax of the “Thousand Years of Longing.” The climax of “Three Thousand Years of Longing” serves as a reassurance that these notions are more than merely love lessons from another age; they remain relevant and important even in our times, with all of its technological advances and accompanying anxieties. As hard as it strives to cram multiple storylines into 108 runtimes, “Three Thousand Years of Longing” is a picture that invests in the emotive resonance of storytelling, myths, and legends, and its multilayered structure is so wonderfully filled with history that its core blooms against the odds.


I Forgot Alba Played Luthur For 108 Minutes

The Luther star gives a luminous portrayal of Djinn; it is his duty to guarantee that Djinn’s recital of his exploits is conveyed to the public without shedding a single drop of the movie’s gravity, humor, and precision. He does what we call “hitting a home run.” As he battles desperately for his liberation and seeks a special relationship with the people he encounters, he is just as much a prisoner of ambition and will as others were, and this is reflected in every word he utters, which, although plentiful, is also conveyed with a sparkling honesty. It’s a wonderful and easygoing performance that shows a softer side to his famous acting chops than has been demonstrated in his previous works. Alithea, played by Swinton, is rational, which she deploys somewhat defensively towards the Djinn’s in response to the Djinn’s insistence that she make wishes. As the former gets drawn to his enticing tales and gets more concerned about Djinn’s voyage, the air around her changes, becoming increasingly filled with need and passion, particularly towards the climax, which deconstructs her initial happiness with the loneliness that is depicted from the start.

It’s true that the movie’s adult-oriented fantasy, seriousness, and sensuality practically distinguish it from modern cinema, but the director’s penchant for imagination and purism remains untarnished. The picture has a peculiar but fascinating mystical tone that readily lures viewers into its folklore world-building. Its palaces, temples, thrones, dungeons, and contemporary cityscapes are all so incredibly big, varying in color, and aesthetically seducing. Seducing really? Yes!! Seducing is indeed the right word. “Three Thousand Years of Longing” has a few major flaws that detract from the overall experience. Although both Swinton and Elba are engaging in their leading roles, they don’t have the type of sizzling sexual tension that would make this a masterpiece like 1974’s ‘Young Frankenstein.’ The picture also suffers from a flawed structure because the majority of the action is taking place in a hotel suite. It would have been really great to see them change the setting and sip tea in a crowded teahouse as Djinn jumps from one story to another. It’s Istanbul; how could you miss a scene with the “TEA”?

I won’t be telling the truth if I pretend I was not at all enthralled overall, even though the ending doesn’t exactly hold. We can see that this is something close to Geroge’s heart, and I, for one, would much prefer to see a filmmaker be allowed enough room to experiment and fail rather than stream jaded, lifeless films like Joss Whedon’s “Justice League.” That’s why, notwithstanding its shortcomings, “Three Thousand Years of Longing” is definitely a must-watch.


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Kabir Walia

Great review. I too believed that the movie needed to explore more of the relationship between Djinn and Tilda. Also, could you please write about some old-is-good films like Life is Beautiful and Bridge on the River Kwai? I’d really love to read your take on that.

Keep it up, guys!!

Regards

Kabir

Rishabh Shandilya
Rishabh Shandilya
Rishabh considers himself a superhero who is always at work trying to save the world from boredom. In his leisure time, he loves to watch more movies and play video games and tries to write about them to entertain his readers further. Rishabh likes to call himself a dedicated fan of Haruki Murakami, whose books are an escape from his real being.

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