Film Review – Three Thousand Years of Longing (2022)

Title – Three Thousand Years of Longing (2022)

Director – George Miller (Mad Max) 

Cast – Tilda Swinton, Idris Elba, Pia Thunderbolt

Plot – The softly spoken and solitary Alithea Binnie (Swinton) unknowingly unlocks The Djinn (Elba) from his bottled incarceration with the two striking up a friendship filled with storytelling as Alithea ponders her three wishes she can request for her deed. 

“What does one do with three wishes?”

Review by Eddie on 10/10/2022

Placed alongside George Miller’s last big screen outing in 2015, the bombastic and glorious Mad Max: Fury Road, the Australian director’s latest big screen outing Three Thousand Years of Longing is about as polar opposite of a film as you’re likely to get. 

Based off A.S. Byatt’s short story that revolves around Tilda Swinton’s reserved Alithea Binnie and her friendship with Idris Elba’s The Djinn, of whom she unknowingly unleashes from 100’s of years of solitary confinement in a bottle with her reward to be three wishes that will be granted, Longing is a much quieter affair than Miller’s famed post-apocalyptic properties that made him a Hollywood icon. 

A passion project for the filmmaker who worked tirelessly for years to bring his vision to life only to have Longing flop in a significant way upon release this year where it was greeted with a muted at best response from critics and a general disinterest from audiences, Longing is sadly a film with a lot of ideas and some moments of grand imagination and spectacle but one that for the most part feels like it’s only a half-cooked attempt at a fantastical romance for the ages that neither inspires in the dramatic or romantic stakes in a major way. 

As you would expect from a film with Miller’s name attached to it, Longing does once more see the director have a lot of fun with his chosen medium as he takes us on a journey through times long gone and fantastical worlds filled with murder, intrigue and very sweaty rooms but despite some neat visual flourishes and dalliances in some inspired world creating, this $60 million budgeted affair (of which not even $20 million was recouped at the worldwide box-office) never manages to grasp hold of the elements that could’ve ensured it became a film event people felt the need to go and be a part of.

Key to this missing component is the relationship between the films main focus throughout which is Alithea and The Djinn with Swinton and Elba doing typical decent work on and in their characters but there’s never a feeling that we are witnessing the type of relationship Miller may have envisioned for his two star-crossed friends/lovers and once more Longing seems to act as a another example to all that Elba is forever destined to have his career in many a lacking features pale in comparison to his work in the TV space. 

Final Say – 

Hard to hate with its heart in the right place and some nice original ideas, Three Thousand Years of Longing is nevertheless a disappointing blockbuster from a renowned director who was unable to turn his passion project into a piece that felt worthy of the time and effort spent bringing it to life.  

2 1/2 bewildered physicist’s out of 5 

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