Lisa Schwarzbaum
January 29, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Trilogy

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
Limited Release Date
01/30/04
performer
Lucas Belvaux, Dominique Blanc, Catherine Frot, Gilbert Melki, Ornella Muti
director
Lucas Belvaux
author
Lucas Belvaux
genre
Comedy, Romance, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it an A-

Belgian writer-director Lucas Belvaux’s clever and engrossing trio of parallel films, collectively known by the hushed title The Trilogy, is as much a feat of diagramming as it is of drama. The three different stories, to be released sequentially over the next couple of weeks, are presented in three different styles — thriller, romantic comedy, and melodrama — but the plots unspool simultaneously. The main characters in one appear as minor characters in the others. Each film stands satisfyingly on its own as a genre piece, but the triplex provides added understanding of character and consequence. Some people solve crossword puzzles to achieve elegant down-and-across satisfaction like this.

”On the Run,” the first film, sets the machinery up on a taut noir note. Belvaux himself plays Bruno, a far-left revolutionary escaped from prison and trying to evade capture; shadows are as crucial as light. The second, ”An Amazing Couple,” about a hypochondriac and his schoolteacher wife (Ornella Muti) who thinks he’s carrying on an affair, luxuriates in fluidity and color. ”After the Life,” the third, pulls in tight on a cop and his drug-addicted wife. Genre-hoppers like Steven Soderbergh ought to love this neat triple doozy.

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