Rachel Weisz will have sex in her next movie. Again, Rachel Weisz will have a sex scene and possibly multiple sex scenes in 360. Oh, hello Google pervs. Nice to meet you. Please wash your hands.
Of course, we won’t get to see said sex scenes (bye Google pervs!), but the film shows great promise. Directing is Fernando Meirelles who previously guided Weisz to her Oscar win in The Constant Gardner, a riveting international drama. The story "revolves" around a constantly rotating (you like my choice of vocabulary, don't cha?) cast of characters after they have just done the whoopie (but since it’s supposed to be dark and psycho sexual, they will probably not call it whoopie). From the AB post-coital conversation, we go to the BC post-romp convo, to the CD, to the DE, till we finally come full circle back to A. Thus the 360 title. Clever isn’t it?
Which is why it was originally written in 1900 by Arthur Schnitzler titled La Ronde. But I’m sure you remembered that from your Early 20th Century German Dramatics class.
This time around, it’s being penned by Peter Morgan. Morgan is responsible for many critically lauded films like The Queen, The Last King of Scotland, and Frost/Nixon. And we all remember the sexual tension and hot passion from The Queen (hubba hubba QE2!). Hopefully, 360 will also feature Michael Sheen. We’re long past due for a Michael Sheen sex scene. Oh, hello Google pervs again!
Fans of true cinema are in for a treat with this next piece of news. City of God and The Constant Gardener director Fernando Meirelles will work with Academy Award nominated wordsmith Peter Morgan on 360, a tale of the sexual mores of various social classes. The script is inspired by Reigen, a play originally written in 1900 by Austrian author Arthur Schnitzler, who wrote the story that inspired Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut.
The play has been the subject of a few adaptations in the past, including 1950’s La Ronde, and more recently into 1998's David Hare-penned stage adaptation The Blue Room. This iteration will undoubtedly aim for a wider audience and will need a proper cast to warrant broad appeal. Meirelles, who's last film was the critically despised Blindness, needs a solid piece of work like this to get himself back into the good graces of the collective film community that is still sour over his take on Jose Saramago's brutal piece of literature.
With proper casting, this project could be a real winner. I'm already giddy at the prospect of two of the world's finest cinematic talents working together on material with such depth; big name stars willing to go to unexplored sexual and emotional territory will just heighten my anticipation for the film.
Morgan's next credit goes to Clint Eastwood's supernatural thriller Hereafter, due in theaters this December, while Meirelles has two independent dramas that he produced ready for release sometime this year: Rosa Morena, the story of a man's journey from Denmark to Brazil to get a child, and VIPs, which offers "a human look on the life of one of the biggest frauds in the world happened by important people in Brazil."
The film begins with an unsatisfactory rendezvous between a prostitute (Vera Farmiga) and a brutish carpenter named Eddie (Domenick Lombardozzi) who is unable to perform. It then follows Eddie to the Manhattan apartment of Ellen (Jill Hennessy) a wealthy but neglected client who wants to sleep with him because she thinks her husband is cheating on her. Later that night Ellen tells her husband Robert (Malcolm Gets) "I want to sleep with other men." He answers "So do I." The story then switches its focus to Robert and the object of his desire an artist named Martin (Steve Buscemi). Martin rebukes Robert's advances at first but ultimately gives in. Then Martin becomes the pursuer when he makes advances on a beautiful art gallery receptionist Anna (Rosario Dawson) who eventually sleeps with him. She confesses the infidelity to her boyfriend (Adrian Grenier) who then turns to an older woman Joey (Carol Kane) for comfort until she frightens him off with her desperation. Alone Joey finds herself giving comfort in the form of phone sex to a suicidal Wall Street embezzler named Will (Michael Imperioli). Will then ends the night with the prostitute from the opening scene.
A film like this must be a dream scenario for actors--an ensemble piece that allows each player to be the main character for a short amount of screen time. With the possible exception of the unfortunately miscast Steve Buscemi who seems overly awkward in his love scenes with both sexes the diverse ensemble of actors assembled here are clearly up to the challenge. The nine principals are meant to represent a mixed bag of races ages classes and disciplines ranging from stage to television to independent film and the anecdotal structure gives each of them a chance to shine. Some shine a little brighter than others however. Dawson Grenier Kane and Imperioli in particular stand out in their respective roles during the latter half of the film. This is not to say that the rest are lacking. It's just that there is only so much that can be done with the material which is sluggish at times and laden with heavy dialogue that can be difficult to deliver believably. As a whole the talented cast does the best they can with what they are given.
When writer/director Peter Mattei set out to depict the vapid and money-obsessed world of the 1990's he looked to Arthur Schnitzler's classic stage play Reigen for stylistic inspiration. The play follows one character after another in a series of overlapping vignettes in which each character seeks out some sort of sexual conquest. Mattei emulates that structure in Love in the Time of Money but never manages to escape the play's theatrical roots. The film relies heavily on dialogue with little intriguing visual imagery that couldn't be done on stage. Although the digital video format is well suited to the material Mattei fails to take full advantage of the rich New York background favoring nondescript streets anonymous alleyways and common restaurants that could exist in any city. Another limitation of the multiplot design is the inability to get more than a cursory glance at any one of the nine characters. There is scarcely enough time in each story to introduce them let alone fully explore what makes them tick before the film moves on to the next person. All that is presented are the broad strokes of their desires and actions without any depth or background to give them context. It's a noble experiment but one that ultimately fails to be compelling.