Three Thousand Years of Longing is George Miller’s follow-up project to 2015’s Academy Award nominated film, Mad Max: Fury Road. This is a story centered on storytelling, the allure and escapism of storytelling, how we are storytelling creatures who better shape our understanding of the world and one another through the fables and lessons we impart.
It’s simultaneously a two-hander with Tilda Swinton as a buttoned-down academic named Alithea who discoveres Idris Elba’s genie (called a djinn in the film) in a bottle. Elba’s Djinn has a centuries-old desire to grant Alithea three wishes which will deliver freedom to this Djinn. Alithea proves to be a tough sale when it comes to engaging in wish-making, asking for details on the Djinn’s past experiences.
The Djinn explains his past experiences granting wishes, through a series of morality tale vignettes about the ironic complications from other wish-granters in ancient stories.
George Miller’s sense of whimsy and visual wonder is alive and well, with the movie being a constant delight for the senses, and playful enough to find ways to continuously surprise. The Djinn’s stories are paired with production design by Roger For, who is a lock for an Oscar nomination.
What emerges is a love story that feels bursting at the seams, drafting off the power of the other mini-stories that have been spreading their wings to form a larger foundation of yearning. It’s a smaller, more personal movie, but spending a couple hours with Elba and Swinton rolling along with the strange and beautiful imagination of Miller is enough to entertainment cinephiles. General audiences should steer clear of this one, and they’ll likely partake in a second or third viewing of Top Gun Maverick.
Letter Grade: C+