Tom Tykwer is one of the most perfectly polished of marbles on the roulette wheel of worldwide filmmaking, landing once in a while on a bet like “Run Lola Run” (a red bet that won) but more often on the likes of “Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer” (2006) and “The International” (2009) (a large, red, table-running bet that lost wildly). The bet of “3” (“Drei” in German) is a small, polished white bet that pays substantial returns in the form of a romantic comedy-cum-ménage-a-trois. The armature of the story is that a fortyish couple of twenty years both fall in love with the same man with stylistic and emotional complications. Unlike the epic “Perfume,” “3” finds Tykwer back on the small-scale, gestural filmmaking of “Winter Sleepers” (1997) or “The Princess and the Warrior” (2000) and on contemporary German soil: we’re not in reality, for certain, but we are among humans in his bold, stylish filmmaking, dwelling, as it seems he must, on the strands of coincidence that shake our every day. “Symmetry… and para… lellll… ism” as it’s intoned in the opening voiceover. (A slower pulse than “Run Lola Run”‘s, (1999) but vital, nonetheless.) As always with Tykwer, who is also a composer, the soundtrack is lovely and assured and sounds of a city to live in; song selections include Bowie’s “Space Oddity” and guitar work by Mogwai. With Sophie Rois, Sebastian Schipper, Devid Striesow, Annedore Kleist, Angela Winkler. 119m. Widescreen. (Ray Pride)
“3” opens Friday at Siskel.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.