More like an hour and forty-five minutes of boredom. In a gorgeous-looking film all about the very concept of storytelling, ironically, this film struggles to tell a good story. With so much promise, and a fresh expression of the legendary tales of djinn (genies), this movie should have been able to deliver a fantastical story. Unfortunately, it suffers from poorly organized and structured plotting. A story is there, but there is lacking a map to navigate from beginning to end. Swinton and Elba demonstrate excellent on-screen chemistry; I’d really like to see them star in a future film together. Three Thousand Years of Longing starts with an intriguing first act, but the second and third acts are sloppily executed. The inverse approach to the Tales of Arabian Nights is not enough to generate substantive interest in the fates of the characters. Again, the setup is interesting. Ostensibly, Elba’s djinn takes on the role of Scheherazade, and regales Swinton’s narratology (the study of story) professor of his 3000 years as a djinn, and the trauma therein. There simply isn’t enough character development for the film to serve as a character study nor is there enough plot to serve as a commentary on the mountains and valleys of love. That’s not to say there isn’t any magic in the film; the cinematography, editing, and visual effects are incredibly impressive!
Ryan teaches Film Studies and Screenwriting at the University of Tampa. If you like this article, check out the others and FOLLOW this blog! Interested in Ryan making a guest appearance on your podcast or contributing to your website? Send him a DM on Twitter! If you’re ever in Tampa or Orlando, feel free to catch a movie with him.
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