A lonely scholar, on a trip to Istanbul, discovers a Djinn who offers her three wishes in exchange for his freedom.
George Miller’s first film since Mad Max: Fury Road allows him to let loose as expected, but doesn’t feel as rewarding as it could have. Tilda Swinton shines in a more fun, likable role than some of her more “chameleon”-like performances, and Idris Elba is great as a Djinn tasked with most of the film’s dialogue and monologues. The production design is also very noteworthy as is the score by Tom Holkenberg, easily his best music for a film since Fury Road. However, the CGI doesn’t look as grand or convincing as it attempts to be and could’ve used some more work.
Though Swinton and Elba’s conversations about how all the ways wishes could go wrong are interesting, the stories Elba tells about his past don’t feel as powerful or intricate as the film wants you to believe. The third act feels an abrupt turn of events and certainly drags, in a way feeling anticlimactic. Upon digging, Miller has a lot of interesting things to say, whether it be about longing, imagination, or love, but he doesn’t explore them deeply enough to deliver that unexpected blow of catharsis and fulfillment that the ending wants you to experience. Perhaps this is one film that constitutes a rewatch, but only certain parts feel inviting to revisit, while others, I feel I’d simply skip over if I ever saw this film again. It’s certainly bold and like nothing that’s come out this year, and its ambition is worth commending, but for most, this isn’t worth rushing to theaters to watch.