A movie review of “The Lovers”: Josh Hartnett stars in this inert, exasperatingly proportioned phantasmagoria.

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The title “The Lovers” refers not just to characters but also to two rings that join together. In this inert, exasperatingly proportioned phantasmagoria from Roland Joffé (“The Killing Fields,” “The Mission”), the jewels’ fortunes in 1778 India have a ripple effect on a futuristic diving mission hundreds of years later. Or perhaps it’s the other way around.

The movie initially cuts between the time frames, interspersing a prophecy from the 18th century with sequences more suited to “The Abyss.” On a dive, Jay (Josh Hartnett) discovers one half of the ring. But Jay is gravely injured rescuing his wife, Laura (Tamsin Egerton), after she unaccountably tries to retrieve it during a storm.

The crosscutting then stops for an hour as the movie bogs down in colonial history.

Movie Review

‘The Lovers,’ with Josh Hartnett, Tamsin Egerton, Bipasha Basu. Written and directed by Roland Joffé. 109 minutes. Rated R for some violence and language. Sundance Cinemas (21+).

The New York Times does not provide star ratings with reviews.

Hartnett appears again as James Stewart, a Scottish soldier reluctantly serving the English crown. Ambivalent about his mandate, he falls for Tulaja (Bipasha Basu), who is destined to betray the man she loves.

As in Darren Aronofsky’s “The Fountain,” romance lost is romance regained across years and continents. Time may bring good things to light, but the 2010 copyright suggests that delays have worked no such wonders for this film.