Tom Tykwer’s 3 Review and Trailer

Tom Tykwer, the filmmaker responsible for Run Lola Run (Lola Rennt), Perfume, and The International, does it again.

3 felt like the proposal of a difficult topic painted in a light that I’ve never before encountered. It takes a much discussed topic and does it in a way that, to my knowledge, has never been discussed.  The topic is, as one might guess by the title, the love triangle.

A love triangle is a common theme in art and media, and life for that matter.  Three people who are connected in a sexual or non-sexual manner; each of whom must impact the others just as much as they impact each other.  Yet often (indeed, nearly always) the love triangle is more of a love ‘V’, with a dotted line at the top.  One person engages in activities with the two, and the other two are connected by some sort of strong friendship.

3 presents this relationship as sexual, between all three.  A couple (a man and woman) both end up having an affair… with the same man. In doing so, the film provides a unique glimpse at the idea of sexuality.  I will not spoil the conclusion this film offers, but I will say that it’s a compelling argument.

Like Tykwer’s other films, 3 is characteristically innovative and stylistic.  The opening sequence, serving as a sort of prologue, was an interesting visual metaphor foreshadowing the film.  He uses short sequences to portray exaggerated inner workings of the main characters’ minds in a way clever and amusing.

Most notably though is that he does away with the “montage” sequence (the word itself a bastardization of the original Russian idea) in a way which is wholly unique and clever.  He uses split-screens that travel around the screen to show multiple scenes at once – all juxtaposing each other. He furthers this by using an occasionally cacophonous sound design which provides sound for all of them or focuses on specific scenes.  In this manner, he conveys the complicated developments between the characters with ease, using juxtaposition in a whole new way.

The actors are great as well, particularly Sophie Rois, who performs a dynamic role and is able to convey so much with just a slowly shifting glance. The other two, Devid Striesow and Sebastian Schipper put forth good performances as well.  All seem relatively comfortable with nudity, and the sex feels natural in a way that would make Bertolucci proud.  The film, also remarkably, might be one of the first films which portrays gay sex between men as naturally as heterosexual sex, side by side; the male body, for that matter, is not shied away from.

It’s a fantastic, unique, and subtle film.  Often funny, often dark. It will challenge you and keep you thinking.  See it.

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