Djinn without tonic

Mick Ferris
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Three Thousand Years Of Longing (15, 108 minutes)

Being granted three wishes is never as simple as it sounds, is it? Just look at all the cautionary tales and there’s always a catch, a message that is usually along the lines of be careful what you wish for or whatever you wish for can’t guarantee happiness.

.Well I can dispute that because from about 15 minutes in I was wishing for this drab piece of self worthy nothingness to end and when my wish came true I was indeed a happy old Hector.

Tilda Swinton puts androgyny aside for once to play an academic who seems to spend her life speaking at conferences around the world, but at least has a normal haircut (it’s a wig) and demeanour, which is something of a stretch for the actress.

While in Istanbul she buys an ornamental bottle from a market – a bottle of djinn on a whim, as it turns out because in taking the top off back in her hotel room she releases Mr Spock-eared Idris Elba from captivity.

And we’re at the three wishes bit – the only purpose for the djinn’s existence – except after millennia of his own company this genie just has to offload his entire backstory to this woman he’s never met before. Before long, but which feels like the 3,000 years in the title, you’re left wishing she would just put the top back on the bottle, throw it into the Bosphorus and save us all from the crushing boredom.

It soon becomes clear that this film sees itself as a romantic drama rather than a fantasy Arabian Nights adventure as the previously content with her life of studious solitude professor puts aside her suspicions of being offered something for nothing and decides there is after all something she wishes for.

I’m left wondering why anyone felt the need to turn this short story into a film that takes longer to watch than to read and is just as tedious in either form.

RATING: 2/10


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