Tom Tykwer returns to TIFF with another clever, challenging work. While his RUN LOLA RUN will probably inevitably shape expectations of his work, THREE is just weird and playful enough to generate interest.

A Berlin couple after years of marriage are finding themselves growing apart. Disinterested conversations permeate their discourse, they talk at cross purposes, each seemingly missing a piece that can connect them once again. As they independently choose infidelity, their relationship comes back together in an unconventional manner.

While the “twist” is certainly telegraphed well in advanced (heck, the title alludes to it) the film does a nice job of playing each story off one another until they join in the end. The hallway confrontation scene in particular is a gem, where our narrative threads are knotted. The film isn’t always successful at this balance, but when it gets things right we get nice modulation between the coolness and passion of the changing relationships.

THREE has some compelling complications, and maintains its tone and purpose well throughout its running time. It’s not a big, bombastic triumph like his other celebrated work, but it’s a fun little piece with a warm, satisfying conclusion.