German filmmaker Tom Tykwer (director of ‘Run Lola Run‘) tried his hand at selling out to mainstream Hollywood with ‘The International‘. He had only limited success with that, so he’s returned to his art film roots with ‘3’, the story of a couple whose long-term relationship has started to fray due to boredom and familiarity. Their lives are complicated further when both partners begin affairs with and fall in love separately with the same man. (Yes, you read that right.) This is a love triangle, but a quite unconventional one.
Tykwer brings many of his usual auteurial (read: pretentious) flourishes to the storytelling. He uses split-screens, montages, and fantasy sequences. He doesn’t shy away from graphic homoeroticism, nor from showing one character’s testicular surgery in extremely gory detail. This film will certainly be hit with an NC-17 if it’s ever released in the U.S. I don’t expect that it will be to everyone’s taste.
Yet the movie is very well acted, has compelling characters, and is even quite (intentionally) funny. The big revelation where all the characters finally figure out exactly what’s been happening is hilarious. As it wraps up, the film perhaps turns a bit preachy, and I didn’t really buy the ending. Regardless, this is an interesting work from an interesting artist. I’m glad I got the chance to see it.