Genre: Drama/Comedy
Director: George Miller
Cast: Idris Elba, Tilda Swinton, Aamito Lagum , Nicolas Mouawad, Ece Yuksel, Matteo Bocelli, Lachy Hulme, Megan Gale, Zerrin Tekindor, Ogulcan Arman Uslu, Jack Braddy, Burcu Golgedar 
Runtime: 1 hr 48 mins
Rating: M18 (Sexual Scenes and Nudity)
Released By: Shaw Organisation
Official Website: 

Opening Day: 1 September 2022

Synopsis: Dr Alithea Binnie (Tilda Swinton) is an academic - content with life and a creature of reason. While in Istanbul attending a conference, she happens to encounter a Djinn (Idris Elba) who offers her three wishes in exchange for his freedom. This presents two problems. First, she doubts that he is real and second, because she is a scholar of story and mythology, she knows all the cautionary tales of wishes gone wrong. The Djinn pleads his case by telling her fantastical stories of his past. Eventually she is beguiled and makes a wish that surprises them both.

Movie Review:

We know there are plenty of rumours out there who is going to take over the role of James Bond, but after seeing Idris Elba in George Miller’s latest work, we want him to be the next 007. In the film, he plays a djinn (most of us would know this fantastical creature as a genie) who is half naked most of the time, and while most viewers would be admiring how well sculpted the English actor’s body is, we are more mesmerised by his charisma which oozes hypnotically with every line he says.

Adapting the 1994 short story "The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye" by A. S. Byatt, Miller co wrote the film’s screenplay with Augusta Core. We are first introduced to Dr Alithea Binnie (if you want an actress to play a quirky and oddball character, your best bet is Tilda Swinton), a narratologist who excels in all things about storytelling (apparently that’s a real academic field where people study narratives and how it affects human perception). During her visit to Istanbul, she buys a bottle and frees a djinn in her hotel room. He wants to grant her three wishes, but she manages to get the giant to tell her three stories from his three thousand years of existence.

Through the narratives (get it?), she learns how the djinn‘s life has been drastically affected by women. Without saying too much, the film mentions the Queen of Sheba from the Hebrew Bible, Suleiman the Magnificent (the 10th and longest-reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Turkish Empire) and uses these characters to weave the djinn’s dramatic life together. After telling his stories, Alithea finally makes a wish and brings the story in a different direction – one that is more relatable to viewers and probably may feel personal to some of us.

Australian filmmaker Miller is known for his visual narratives. He impressed us by bringing a wild dystopian world to life on screen with his four Mad Max movies, with 2015’s Fury Road winning six Academy Awards, including Best Film and Best Director. This fantasy drama is the perfect platform for the 77 year old director to unleash more magic from his imaginative mind. Thanks to the Middle Eastern tales narrated by the djinn, you’ll be treated to a visual feast featuring tantalising women, steaming bathhouses and exhilarating battle sequences. You may be overwhelmed by the effects laden images on screen and almost forget what the story is about.

Elba portrays a djinn who is powerful yet vulnerable, and the capable actor exudes charm in all the scenes he is in. He is a great lover, and he is also a fighter. He is willing to compromise to show his tenderness, and he is also aware when his existence is compromised. Just when you thought there isn’t much for Swinton to do, her character shines after the djinn finishes relating his past and she makes her own wish. The British actress effortlessly plays an eccentric character who goes along with the thought of co existing in a relationship with a djinn, and we probably know how this is going to melancholically end. But it is an ending that will make lonely souls wonder what they live for.

Movie Rating:

(You'll be treated to bold and lush visuals, as well as affecting performances by a very charistmatic Idris Elba and the ever reliable Tilda Swinton)

Review by John Li

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