6 March 2012 | gradyharp
A Smart, Visually Stunning, Creative Comedy of Sexual Variations
Writer/director Tom Twyker (Run Lola Run, Perfume, Heaven, The International. Paris, je t'aime) is proving to be one of the most fearless and creative talents in film today. He knows how to create strange stories that take us by surprise, present them with excellent actors, selects and composes musical scores that are as perfect as any being created, introduces just enough philosophy and scientific investigation into timely topics to challenge our brains, and tops it off with inventive photography - superimposing split screens that enhance not only the progress of the story but also allow the presentation of brief glimpses of 'dangerous' ideas that stirs the cauldron to boiling.
3 is a fascinating tale. Simon (Sebastian Schipper) is an artistic architect who works with sculptors to bring their art into being. He is in a longterm relationship with Hanna (Sophie Rois) who is a television journalist cum scientist who is widely popular in their hometown of Berlin. Simon and Hanna are in their forties and deeply in love. Simon is informed that his mother has advanced pancreatic carcinoma and when his mother attempts suicide with an overdose and fails, she is brain dead, supported on machines. Simon stays at her bedside while Hanna continues her line of investigation about new stem cell theories, attending lectures by the handsome Adam (Devid Striesow) - a married man with children who leads a separate life of clandestine but short-lived gay affairs. Simon's mother dies and Simon is diagnosed with testicular carcinoma, undergoes an orchiectomy and begins chemotherapy, losing his hair in the process. All of this he shares with Hanna: the two decide they probably should marry and Hanna wants children while Simon thinks world timing is poor for starting a family (he is also aware of the fact that his operation and chemotherapy may represent the end of his sexuality and fertility).
Though devoted to Simon, Hanna is attracted to Adam and finds ways to be near him. Soon they are in a physical love affair. Simon recovers his disease by swimming in a beautiful Berlin gym where he quite incidentally meets Adam, shares his operation with the stranger in the locker room, and Adam proceeds to demonstrate that Simon is indeed not impotent! Simon has new feelings aroused, and he and Adam begin a love affair. Hanna and Simon get married but still each of them has feelings for Adam. When Hanna discovers she is pregnant the story spins to its conclusion and the triptych of the title is established.
This film is subtle but frank, explores sexuality in an open and honest way exploring themes relevant to our time: the biological and the ethical side of human life, the determinist way of viewing our sexuality and gender, the ways in which we define our selves in a time with shifting mores, the chance of love in a society with few if any boundaries. Love affairs as demonstrated between Hanna and Simon, Hanna and Adam, and Simon and Adam are treated equally and sensitively.
The three primary actors are excellent as is the entire cast. The cinematography and film manipulation by Frank Griebe (with Twyker) and the musical score Reinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek, Gabriel Isaac Mounsey, and Tom Tykwer (with a little help form Debussy and others!) is splendid. This is a first class film and deserves the attention of a very wide audience. It is likely to be one of those films that grows in stature with the passage of time.