A lonely scholar, on a trip to Istanbul, discovers a Djinn who offers her three wishes in exchange for his freedom.
‘Three Thousand Years of Longing’ is a romantic fantasy drama starring Tilda Swinton as Alithea, a lonely British scholar, and Idris Elba as a long trapped Djinn who she inadvertently releases from an antique bottle she’s just purchased in Istanbul. If you’d watched the trailer you’d perhaps be expecting something wacky, surreal and unusual, particularly as it comes from the mind of George Miller, whose last movie was the ferocious ride that was ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’. Sadly, this is an altogether more sedate affair, and if you could be done under the trade descriptions act for a misleading trailer this would be a prime candidate (I jest somewhat; it’s on me for expecting a different film than I ultimately got).
After a brief introduction that shows Alithea’s trip to Istanbul (and some strange visions that foreshadow the Djinn’s arrival), we get into the crux of the story when she opens the bottle within her hotel room. This brings her face to face with the Djinn who offers to grant her three wishes, but Alithea is well versed in her mythological history and isn’t quite ready to fall into what she believes to be a trap. In response, the Djinn recants three tales from his past that explain how he came to be trapped in a bottle, ultimately finding himself in Alithea’s hands. The biggest issue with ‘Three Thousand Years of Longing’ is that it doesn’t really work as a movie, primarily because it is incredibly heavy on exposition and is over reliant on Idris Elba’s narration to explain what is happening in each of his stories. The stories themselves range from the dull to the mildly amusing, all playing out as a self-acknowledging series of cautionary tales with limited variation in their tone or message.
I found the way ‘Three Thousand Years of Longing’ unfolded to be quite predictable, and despite reliably solid performances from Swinton and Elba, it’s a bit too sedate, too mundane, and it’s nowhere near as fun as I’d hoped for from a George Miller film.
Directed By: George Miller
Starring: Idris Elba, Tilda Swinton, Aamito Lagum, Nicolas Mouawad, Ece Yüksel, Burcu Gölgedar, Matteo Bocelli, Lachy Hulme, Megan Gale, Ogulcan Arman Uslu and Jack Braddy