Return home

REVIEW: Make a wish for a better movie

Sean I. Mills
Staff writer
email / twitter
Posted 9/4/22

You will be longing for a better movie after watching the anemic love story in “Three Thousand Years of Longing.”

This item is available in full to subscribers.

REVIEW: Make a wish for a better movie


You will be longing for a better movie after watching the anemic love story in “Three Thousand Years of Longing.”

Hailed as director George Miller’s first film since the blockbuster “Mad Max: Fury Road,” the new genie story “Three Thousand Years of Longing” is a low-energy romance more interested in looking artistic and imparting lessons than in being a well-rounded film. You’re better off spending the two hours daydreaming about your own three wishes than seeing how they get wasted in this film.

Pro-tip: Don’t just wish for a billion dollars, wish that you win the lottery. That way, the money has a legit source and is legally traceable, so the IRS won’t get suspicious about your sudden, genie-magicked moolah.

Tilda Swinton plays Alithea, a traveling scholar who lives a lonely, solitary, and content existence, and who discovers a magic lamp in Istanbul. She summons a djinn, played by Idris Elba, and to help her make her three wishes, the djinn tells Alithea all about the misguided wishes of his previous masters.

Had the movie just been about the genie telling Alithea about all his previous masters, this movie probably would have been alright. Those sequences are full of artistic style and flair, mixing impressive visuals with historical settings in a fun tapestry. But “Three Thousand” keeps insisting on cutting back to the present day, where Swinton and Elba just don’t have much chemistry, and their own love story is a bit of a wash.

This is one instance where I can definitely insist you do not watch the trailer for “Three Thousand Years of Longing.” The music and energy of the trailer are the exact opposite of the largely silent, much calmer movie. It’s a bit jarring, getting excited about a film based on a trailer, only to get baited and switched in the actual theater.

“Three Thousand” has some artistic merit. The movie is clearly made with a sense of purpose and a strong vision. But the execution leaves a lot to be desired. It is just not a very engaging film, at least not the main storyline that drives the movie. And it especially falls apart with the rushed final act.

The movie just doesn’t live up to its expected potential in a way that’s fulfilling and satisfying. The movie is hyperfocused on its artistic storytelling, to the detriment of the overall story it’s trying to tell.

“Three Thousand” is only playing in theaters.

For more discussion on the film, check out the Sentinel Cinema podcast at:,140612


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here