4.0 out of 5 stars
A fascinating 'Trilogy', Jan 12 2012
I highly recommend 'The Trilogy'. It's a fascinating, brave cinematic
experiment - three films of wildly different styles and tones combining to tell
one story. If in the end it doesn't quite achieve greatness, it still is strong
filmmaking with excellent acting, and is unlike any other series of films
I can think of.
Part 1. On the Run
This first part is a taught, well made, violent thriller, following an
escaped communist revolutionary, determined to return to the bombing
and violence that put him in jail 20 years ago, while settling old
scores with enemies, and re-contacting old allies.
Belvaux shows daring in not working to make his character very
sympathetic, and allowing our initial almost automatic sympathy for our
lead character to be ever more harshly challenged. We come slowly to
realize this is a violent zealot, unmoved by the fact that the
revolution that seemed to make sense as a young man now seems arbitrary
and insane, and that his callous disregard for his victims isn't much
of a start on a new world order.
In a vacuum, this dark, cynical noir would still be a good film, but
with the next part of the Trilogy, it gains in levels and meanings.
There are real flaws here - a few plot twists are hard to buy, some
character behavior unclear (although less unclear after part 2). A guy
this smart wouldn't make a couple of the mistakes he does. And the
score is frustratingly repetitious. But it's never boring, always
involving, and with the next film, it's something more.
BTW, frustratingly I noticed Amazon has put this review, which was
written only for the first part of 'The Trilogy' - 'On the Run' -
on the whole set. So for those reading this review under 'The Trilogy'
here are my comments on films 2 and 3;
Part 2: 'An Amazing Couple'
This is mostly a well plotted and acted lighthearted farce about marriage,
trust and fidelity, with serious issues not far below the surface.
Seeing this airy fare right after the darkness of 'On the Run' (part 1 of the Trilogy)
gives an almost Zen like insight into the two sides of life - light and dark,
silly and tragic, and how those two dance and interweave.
Yes, a few of the comic twists are a bit forced, but many more are
clever and really amusing, and all the characters are simultaneously
lovable and infuriating.
But most amazing is the chill one feels when the overlaps with 'On the
Run' become apparent. Even more than "On the Run", "An Amazing
Couple" is a far better film for being part of the bigger whole.
Interestingly the top professional critics were split on this film in particular,
and on 'The Trilogy' as a whole, calling it everything from 'a masterpiece' to
'a self involved misfire' .
Part 3. After the Life
This intense drama of a cop trying to deal with his morphine addicted life puts
more pieces in place of the world of stories Belvaux has created. It is fascinating
to see scenes that played as comedy in part 2 "An Amazing Couple", repeated here,
exactly as they were, but now they feel dead serious because of the change in context.
The only problem for me - and most critics disagree, is that for me this was the
weakest of the three films, the acting sometimes over the top, character logic
sometimes vague or missing. I felt disappointed, because after part 2 made me like
part 1 even better, I was hoping part 3 would raise the whole into more than the
sum of it's parts, into 'great film event' territory. Sadly, that didn't quite happen for me
- maybe because I was expecting too much.
I'd certainly give this another shot, and it's absolutely a good film, with some very
It just felt a little more obvious in how it brought 'The Trilogy's' stories and themes
(obsession, blindness in service of an idea or need) together than what I wished for.