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24th May 2024

One of the most underappreciated movies of the decade is on TV tonight

Stephen Porzio

Featuring two big stars, its director has a massive new movie arriving in cinemas today.

Our TV movie pick for tonight is Three Thousand Years of Longing, the film legendary director George Miller made in between Mad Max: Fury Road and the now in cinemas Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.

Boasting one of the most intriguing premises of recent memory, the movie follows a British narratologist – someone who studies stories – named Alithea (Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton).

In Istanbul for a conference, she purchases an antique bottle at the market and, upon taking it back to her hotel room, she discovers that it contains a genie (Idris Elba).

Delighted to be freed from the bottle, the genie offers Alithea three wishes. In response though, Alithea says she is content with her life and does not need three wishes. She is also wary of the genie as most stories about them are cautionary tales.

To help put her mind at ease, the genie begins recounting his life story to Alithea. The movie jumps between Alithea and the genie’s conversations in the hotel room to flashbacks throughout the genie’s 3,000 years on Earth, leading to how he became trapped in the bottle.

Essentially Miller’s blank cheque movie after the runaway success of Oscar Best Picture nominee Mad Max: Fury Road, Three Thousand Years of Longing was made with a $60 million budget and it’s all up there on the screen. The film looks incredible, particularly the colourful and vibrant flashback sequences which inventively breeze through the genie’s experiences across thousands of years of history.

On top of this, Elba and Swinton have great chemistry and make for incredibly likable protagonists, with the movie also serving as an exploration of the nature of storytelling, romance and how life has changed throughout the ages.

Despite all these praiseworthy elements though, the movie was a box office flop, only grossing $20 million, perhaps because its ambitious, genre-bending and emotional story was difficult to sum up in its marketing. That said, it did earn generally positive write-ups from critics.

If you missed it in cinemas, Three Thousand Years of Longing is airing on TV tonight on Film4 at 9pm. It is also available to watch on Apple TV and Rakuten TV.

Here are the other movies airing on TV tonight:

Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome – ITV4 – 9pm

Another George Miller cult classic, this is the third in the Mad Max saga where Mel Gibson’s road warrior is joined by Tina Turner.

Meet the Parents – E4 – 9pm

“I have nipples, Greg, could you milk me?”

Unchained – Legend – 9pm

Also known as Bullet Head in some territories, this 2017 crime thriller stars Adrien Brody, Antonio Banderas and John Malkovich.

Brake – Legend Xtra – 9pm

Stephen Dorff plays a Secret Service Agent held captive in the trunk of a car by terrorists in this Buried-style thriller.

Idiocracy – Comedy Central – 10.30pm

This cult sci-fi comedy follows two people (played by Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph) who undergo a government hibernation experiment and awake 500 years later in a dystopian anti-intellectual society.

Spider-Man: Far From Home – BBC One – 10.40pm

The second entry in Tom Holland’s Spider-Man trilogy.

A Banquet – Film4 – 11.10pm

In this 2021 British horror, a widowed mother Holly (Sienna Guillory) is radically tested when her teenage daughter Betsey (Jessica Alexander) experiences a profound enlightenment that results in her refusing to eat.

Rooster Cogburn – TG4 – 11.15pm

A ’70s Western starring John Wayne and Katherine Hepburn.

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