SIFF 2011: Drei ***1/2

By Dennis Hartley

(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on May 22, 2011)

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With his new film, 3 (aka Drei) German director Tom Tykwer finally answers that age-old question: What would happen if a bio-ethicist (Sophie Rois) and an art engineer (Sebastian Schipper), who have been involved in a loving, 20-year long relationship should suddenly (unbeknownst to each other) find themselves falling head-over-heels in love with the same genetics research scientist (Devid Streisow)? It gets interesting. Whether or not it gets interesting enough to hold your attention …well, that depends.

Although he can’t resist tossing in a few of his patented art-house flourishes (thankfully, he only flirts with that annoying split-screen gimmick this time), this is a relatively low-key effort from a director who has built his rep on delivering stylized kinetics (Run Lola Run, The International). If you can visualize Woody Allen directing The Unbearable Lightness of Beingthen you’ll find Tykwer’s surprisingly conventional romantic romp about an unconventional love triangle amongst the Berlin intelligentsia  playful, erotic and smart. And if there is a message, it’s  imbedded within the film’s most quotable line: “Say goodbye to your deterministic understanding of biology.”

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