Not at all the movie I thought it would be but I'm still happy.
I can't recall when I first saw promotional material for this film, and even then I only saw it once but I knew this was going to be a movie for me so here we are. What a fascinating little film! I truthfully thought the concept of Tilda Swinton playing a literary scholar named Alithea based solely in science and fact coming into contact with a djinn a wish giving creature of fantasy played by Idris Elba was pretty cool, and I figured the film would almost be this battle of religion and science but in a very intellectual and and thought provoking way. What I got was a still regardlessly interesting blossoming romance movie where the vast majority of it is with our two stars sitting in a room talking and telling stories. Doesn't sound far off from skull caving boredom, but it couldn't be anything farther from that! The devils are in the details and how the both literal stories of the character's past and the progression of the plot are what keeps it engaging. Of course Alithea finds it hard to believe despite physical evidence to the contrary that this mythical being has emerged in her hotel room but they quickly disband a lot of rebuking and denial that the djinn can't actually exist and move onto a few questions of his existence which leads to his history. Beautifully directed by George Miller, he of the incalculable Mad Max Fury Road fame, it's a visually striking and filled to the brim rich environment of scenes, with interesting camera work, slick editing, and colors galore as we follow his origins from the times of King Solomon to present day. Now on one hand I can easily see this movie not grabbing people's attention as firmly as it did mine, it's almost ludicrously simple in concept with more or less monologues abound of past histories formed as stories, yet I feel that is entirely the point. The movie really leans hard on the concept of stories, of tales, of legends and what humans get out of it and what they see in making such things, hell the only media I've seen that holds similar standing on the concept is The Sandman comics. It articulates itself very well, better than I can honestly find words to describe it myself so I do suggest people give it a go. It's not even 2 hours long, and while the movie has more fades to black than Return Of The King (my only slight complaint about the movie period) I found it easy to slip into this world, hear the tales, get invested in our characters, and did wonder at exactly how it all would end. It's a strange but neat little interesting story that I'm very happy to have seen. I personally give it 4 stars, 8.5/10, and while the idea that we're all just stories in the end has been in my mind for some time this movie actually reinforces that just a little bit more.