The film's strong casting makes it involving, even when sentimentality… (Strand Releasing )
The love triangle gets an evolutionary update in Tom Tykwer's romance "3" (Drei), a sensuous intellectual romp whose strong casting makes it involving, even when sentimentality creeps into the story or ideas present themselves in boldface.
Hanna and Simon are a 40-ish Berlin couple, together 20 years and both with successful careers on the cultural cutting edge. She hosts a highbrow talk show — the kind not seen on American television in decades — and he's an "art engineer," translating sculptors' visions into large-scale installations.
Things have gone blah between them but are far from over, as the opening split-screen sequence neatly encapsulates with its "Keep going" mantra, signaling commitment and resignation. Just as they take the plunge and marry, Simon and Hanna each become involved with the rather pointedly named Adam (Devid Striesow), an affable blond scientist who in turn finds himself wanting more than his usual one-night stand.
The actors make the central trio's transformations fully felt. Sophie Rois is compelling as Hanna, her hard-edged intensity a cross between Glenn Close and Isabelle Huppert, while Sebastian Schipper never overplays the easygoing Simon's rebirth.
"3" doesn't read like an argument for polyamory or for the stem-cell research it places front and center; the otherworldly beauty of a municipal pool outweighs the biology talk. Tykwer makes the romantic upheaval matter while acknowledging that it doesn't amount to a hill of beans: Urbanites reconfigure their lives, war rages on TV screens and the world never stops spinning.
"3" (Drei). No MPAA rating; in German with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour, 59 minutes. At Laemmle's Sunset 5, West Hollywood; Laemmle's Playhouse 7, Pasadena; and Edwards Westpark 8, Irvine.