Film & TV

Say Goodbye to Monogamy in "3"

After 20 years together, 40-ish arts professionals Hanna (Sophie Rois) and Simon (Sebastian Schipper) have succumbed to bed death. Other stresses burden the relationship: the passing of Simon's mother, his diagnosis of testicular cancer soon after, the insistence of writer/director Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run, The International) on constantly using split screens. A third party, genetic scientist Adam (Devid Striesow), unknowingly reignites the couple's lust by providing them each with a secret: Hanna begins an affair with Adam after meeting him at a conference; Simon, new to same-sexing, later gets a handjob from him at a public swimming pool. Although there's apparently nothing Adam can't do — advancing stem-cell research, sailing, motorcycle-riding, avant-garde choral singing, maintaining an excellent relationship with his ex-wife, bedding beauties of both genders — Striesow, with his gelatinous face, is an exceedingly uncharismatic screen presence. More suspension of disbelief — or suppression of giggles — is required when Adam, trying to assuage Simon's uncertainty about how he should now define himself, instructs: "Say goodbye to your deterministic understanding of biology," a line last uttered by women's-studies majors circa 1987. Tykwer himself is unable to bid farewell to it, as is all too evident in the larded final scenes.

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Melissa Anderson is the senior film critic at the Village Voice, for which she first began writing in 2000. Her work also appears in the publications of the Voice’s film partner, Voice Media Group: LA Weekly, Denver Westword, Phoenix New Times, Miami New Times, Broward-Palm Beach New Times, Houston Press and Dallas Observer.