DVD Review: 3

STUDIO: Strand Releasing | DIRECTOR: Tom Tykwer | CAST: Sophie Rois, Sebastian Schipper, Devid Striesow, Angela Winkler, Annedore Kleist, Alexander Horbe
DVD RELEASE DATE: 2/7/2012 | PRICE: DVD $27.99
BONUSES: none
SPECS: NR | 119 min. | Foreign language romantic comedy | 2.35:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 2.0 | German with English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

 

Remember those 1930s sophisticated comedies set among the privileged class (MGM, of course!): Joan Crawford cavorting between Robert Montgomery and William Powell? Now imagine those films set among the new privileged class–the academic/artistic elite of modern German–and then throw in a bout of testicular cancer and you’ll get a sense of Tom Tykwer’s (Run Lola Run) latest film, the romantic comedy 3.

3 movie scene

Sebastian Schipper and Sophie Rois do a little celebrating in 3.

Oh, and while Crawford cavorts with Montgomery and Powell, now Montgomery and Powell cavort with each other. And the ubiquitous Metro fashion show has been updated to a large-scale art installation complete choral accompaniment. And, like the fasion show, it’s the perfect set-up for an awkward near-meet.

Hanna (Sophie Rois) and Simon (Sebastian Schipper) have lived together for twenty years without children or the commitment of marriage. Faced with the dryness of academic life and her first brush with agism, Hannah drifts into an affair with Adam (Devid Striesow). Simon, after a medical crisis, begins to explore his sexuality…with Adam. Let the rondelay begin!

The three protagoniists play their roles beautifully, revealig their individual damage without lapsing into self-pity. Except for a couple of excursions into the Burgher-class Berlin suburbs and Hanna and Simon’s professorial digs, most of the settings are sleek and impersonal. Adam’s barely finished apartment is devoid of mementos or even tea to offer a one-night stand. Most striking is a giant womb-like public swimming pool, especially apt for anonymous sexual hook-ups.

Make no mistake, this is no brittle sex comedy. Tykwer’s keen observations and genuine humanity elevate the proceedings, leading up to a final scene that is both life-affirming and touching in a childlike way. And one of the most potentially painful moments is balanced with a bit of gross-out humor that would make the Farrelly Brothers blush.

N.B.:  The subtitles contain far too many instances of white characters on a white background. In a film with over-lapping conversations and academic discourse, this is really a pain!

 

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About David

David Leopold is an actor, writer and videographer who would take a Sherpa ride up a Tibetan mountain to see an Edwige Feuillère movie.