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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

Three Thousand Years of Longing (M) - 108 minutes

The highest grossing film of 1992, Aladdin, that gave us the story of the Genie in a lamp.

Fast forward 30 years and now you have the tale of a djinn in a bottle.

Dr Alithea Binnie (Tilda Swinton) is a feted, scholarly storyteller – a creature of reason – who is having vivid and alarming visions.

On a conference in Istanbul, she purchases an old misshapen bottle, but when she tries to clean it, something extraordinary happens.

Her rubbing triggers the appearance of a djinn who has been trapped inside for a great many years.

He proceeds to relay to her how on three separate occasions after he was freed forces conspired to see him trapped again.

These fantastic tales involve love, war and betrayal.

To remain free the djinn implores Alithea to make three wishes.

Mind you, in so doing there are rules.

For instance, Alithea can’t wish for eternal life.

She is suspicious that she may be being taken on a ride, but the more she hears the stronger her connection to the djinn.

Still, there are sounds in this modern world that don’t sit comfortably with him.

Three Thousand Years of Longing is an engaging, if decidedly far-fetched, fantasy about connection.

It is proof positive that Tilda Swinton has credibility, even when she plays a creative if lonely soul in a story of make believe.

Throughout she maintains the intelligent visage that is her hallmark.

Idris Elba adds big ticket gravitas as the djinn, who weaves many a colourful story.

The picture painted is that of an adult fairy tale.

Co-writer (with Augusta Gore) and director George Miller is, of course, quite at home with the genre. He was responsible for Babe and Happy Feet, not to overlook Mad Max.

Miller and Gore have certainly let their imaginations wander.

Their writing is based on a short story – The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye – by AS Byatt.

The picture is colourful throughout, the production design by Roger Ford being a feature.

Visual effects too are allowed to flourish, with plenty to admire.

So, Three Thousand Years of Longing is a pleasant lavish distraction.

Rated M, it scores a 7 out of 10.


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