31 August 2008 | piverba
Three but not Out good effort that requires more thought
The Christian Idea of God's Grace, the forgiveness one attains through repentance, is an optimistic stanza one assumes toward life the absolution is always possible, no matter how great the offense.
Assuming a hard working dope that's all his life tried to endure and provide, to be fair and altruistic, to love and cherish his wife and children this dope lives and dies without love and forgiveness, because there is nothing to forgive. Next day after expiration he is forgotten. This dope, like the air, nobody notices it is always there and is taken for granted because it is unconditionally given and always available.
Consider a catholic mobster, who kills, rapes and tortures, he appears in a confession booth and in a minute is fully renewed and forgiven. No more sins and life starts anew. Same with the main character of this film, perhaps not fully forgiven but remembered, for all these years of being an egoist and a scumbag, his daughter still loves him, for all these promises, that remained unfulfilled, she missed him all these years. He's not an air to her, familiar and always accessible, rather unattainable dream, never fulfilled and always pregnant with potentiality. And after the final loss (death) he will be remembered and never forgotten as a mystery, never fully revealed. Apparently there is a golden median, were giving and appreciation go hand-in-hand, in a dynamic equilibrium but how one finds this balance? Often, promises of eternal salvation that will follow ethical behavior obtain no evidence of the salvation while we are still alive.
"Three and Out" provides no answers to these eternal questions. The title itself, reflecting narrative setup - "Run over three people in one month to obtain the ticket out of this mad house into a paradise" does not really suggest good symbolism. Two accidental victims and, finally, last one, executed. Perhaps this is due punishment, without mercy, an execution that restores justice. "A deal is a deal" an obligation before God and people in the game called Life, where one who not giveth should not receiveth. No mercy. But then the ending, the daughter of the executed with the executioner are now lovers.
Positive: An attempt to address a human condition. The casting presents ordinary people.
Negative: Trite plot we already had seen films with very similar ideas before and similar outcomes. Characters often are not believable. Paul and Frankie are very unlikely pair and their engagement feels very forced and unreal. The film never achieves pathos that is required when addressing this kind of matters.
Conclusion: The director was trying to make a film that means something not just an entertainment. I do not feel he had fully succeeded. However, this is a serious effort, and should be treated with respect.