The cumulative merits on display in Miller’s museum of amazement, from the whiz-bang recreations of freakified old-world grandeur to the humbler miracles shared between two wayward souls, we hang on every word of the narration — as sure a sign of a well-spun yarn as any.
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In fact, the two stars are so sweet and searching together — their characters’ respective power and mutual solitude pulling them together with practical magic — that some of the film’s more spectacular detours seem flimsy by contrast.
While there’s a liberal sprinkling of humor, the mysteries it conjures are windy and academic, though not the kind of academic that stands up to scrutiny.
George Miller combines myth, magic, and romance to mixed effect in a visually dazzling adult fairytale starring a committed Swinton and Elba.
If a screenplay is going to be fixated on the history and purpose of storytelling, the stories within it have to be better.
These days, audiences are so savvy about the tricks at a filmmaker’s disposal that the movie’s greatest achievement is that it seizes our imagination (or perhaps that’s our attention deficit disorder being so brusquely manhandled) and holds it for the better part of two hours, defying us to anticipate what comes next.
It’s a curious film, messy in all its ambition but consistently transfixing, an earnest labor of love—and one about love.
While Swinton and Elba make smooth work of the fairy-tale-toned dialogue, they simply lack the chemistry to make their tryst convince as romance. And the fantasy flashbacks too often sink into chintz.
Hardly lacking ambition or verve, this amped-up fairy tale comes complete with social commentary and a grownup examination of the consequences of seeking connection, but the episodic, intermittently engaging saga frustrates more than it enchants.
Three Thousand Years of Longing is guileless, open-hearted, like an antiquarian bookseller’s dream of The Thief of Baghdad. It’s so defiantly out of step with fashion that there’s finally something faintly glorious about it.