“Estamos todos connectados,” reads the tagline on the Brazilian poster for Fernando Meirelles’s 360, its English translation, of course, being, “we are all connected.” To this, a filmgoer’s first reaction may well be one of shock, particularly over Meirelles’s sheer audacity. Is there really anything new to be brought to the hyperlink-narrative subgenre, wherein characters’ overlapping and interlocking stories ultimately reveal their common humanity? As evidenced by dreck like last year’s Answers to Nothing, it’s a cinematic dead zone, whose knell rang out around the middle of the Aughts. Is Meirelles that deluded and out of touch, or is he a savvy resurrectionist with fresh tricks up his sleeve?
In his corner is tony English scribe Peter Morgan, whose credits include the screenplay for The Queen, and whose new tale seems to stitch together the requisite pieces: dark pasts, lies, secrets, and feigned emotions. Paired with the concept of universality, that patchwork approach is what fuels the Brazilian design, a freaky collage that literally fuses the faces of four stars, driving home the notion that all are more alike than different. In the film’s (rather benign) trailer, we learn that each aching soul is searching for something, be it an old man (Anthony Hopkins) searching for his daughter, an ex-con (Ben Foster) searching for redemption, or a wife (Rachel Weisz) searching for satisfaction her husband (Jude Law) can’t provide. Again, despite an enticing international cast (co-stars include Maria Flor, Jamel Debbouze, and Dinara Drukarova of Since Otar Left), this all seems drastically familiar, as if Meirelles felt the need to tip his hat to Mexican peer Alejandro Gonález Iñárritu, who helped bang the coffin nails into this brand of storytelling.