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Fernando Meirelles (City of God, The Constant Gardener) uses Max Ophüls’s dazzling La Ronde as a blueprint for this cluttered globe-hopping melodrama featuring an all-star international cast in various stages of grief and infidelity. The set-up is exquisite: the use of architecture and highly reflective surfaces function as serviceable tributes to Ophüls’s complex formal strategies and stylish execution. Normally a sucker for movies about seemingly unrelated characters who gradually converge as the narrative threads tighten, screenwriter Peter Morgan (The Queen, Hereafter) adds a few gossamer strands too many. For a moment it threatens to veer into Airport 2 territory; newly-paroled sex offender Ben Foster’s rehabilitation is put to the test when, during an unscheduled layover, a rebounding dental assistant (Maria Flor) practically forces him into bed. Add to this talk of an international financial crisis, widespread influenza, and a profusion of visual trickery (horizontal and vertical split-screen, CG bridging shots, etc.), only some of which contribute to the film’s forward momentum. With: Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins, Lucia Siposová, and Marianne Jean-Baptiste. 2012.

Scott Marks

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