One of the most underappreciated movies of the decade is now available to watch at home
It was made by a great director and features two massive stars.
Just last year saw the release of Three Thousand Years of Longing, legendary filmmaker George Miller's follow-up to Mad Max: Fury Road, starring Idris Elba and Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton.
Boasting one of the most intriguing premises of recent memory, the movie follows a British narratologist - someone who studies stories - named Alithea (Swinton). In Istanbul for a conference, she purchases an antique bottle at the market and, upon taking it back to her hotel room, she discovers that it contains a genie (Elba).
Delighted to be freed from the bottle, the genie offers Alithea three wishes. In response though, Alithea says she is content with her life and does not need three wishes. She is also wary of the genie as most stories about them are cautionary tales.
To help put her mind at ease, the genie begins recounting his life story to Alithea. The movie jumps between Alithea and the genie's conversations in the hotel room to flashbacks throughout the genie's 3,000 years on Earth, leading to how he became trapped in the bottle.
Essentially Miller's blank cheque movie after the runaway success of Oscar Best Picture nominee Mad Max: Fury Road, Three Thousand Years of Longing was made with a $60 million budget and it's all up there on the screen. The film looks incredible, particularly the colourful and vibrant flashback sequences which inventively breeze through the genie's experiences across thousands of years of history.
Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba in Three Thousand Years of Longing
On top of this, Elba and Swinton have great chemistry and make for incredibly likable protagonists, with the movie also serving as an exploration of the nature of storytelling, romance and how life has changed throughout the ages.
Despite all these praiseworthy elements though, the movie was a box office flop, only grossing $20 million, perhaps because its ambitious, genre-bending and emotional story was difficult to sum up in its marketing.
That said, it did earn generally positive write-ups from critics, some of which you can read below:
The Atlantic: "For all the film’s sprawling movements across history, the small-scale love story at its core is what makes it as arresting as Miller’s loudest hits."
Empire: "Elba’s performance as a lonely Djinn with a bottomless reserve of charm, paired with Miller’s unbridled energy, make this a modern fairy tale worth seeking out."
The Observer: "Visually rich and thematically dense, Three Thousand Years of Longing muses on romance and possession, as well as the slow death of mythology and folklore at the hands of science and capitalism"
The Reveal: "A feast for the head and the heart and the eyes."
Sydney Morning Herald: "It’s no blockbuster. It wasn’t designed that way. But it’s audacious, funny and consistently inventive with a lot of charm."
If you missed it in cinemas, Three Thousand Years of Longing is now streaming on Prime Video in Ireland and the UK. You can check out its trailer below.
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