When I was at the Landmark Theatres to catch The Farewell, my wife and I thought the trailer for Three Peaks looked rather intriguing. I didn’t even realize it was starring Berenice Bejo, who was so good in the silent picture The Artist. It wasn’t until a screener link was sent to my computer and we started watching, and I wondered who that beautiful woman was. It took me half the movie to realize, and I was given a lot of time to think about it, because there were a lot of moments with no dialogue. Often times Bejo is merely staring at her boyfriend with a sort of disdain that never really made sense. Especially since Alexander Fehling (Inglourious Basterds) was playing perhaps the greatest man you’ve ever seen on screen. He’s good looking, and a wonderful boyfriend. He’s also a terrific father figure to her son. The movie starts with him teaching the boy to swim and playing with him in the pool, as well as hikes in the Alps on their vacation. He’ll later teach the boy to play the organ, and he’ll listen to the story he wrote. The problem is that writer/director Jan Zabeil did a poor job with the dialogue, and with the story. I thought of four different directions this movie could’ve gone in that would’ve been more interesting.
What’s most troublesome is that characters do and say things that make little sense. At one point the woman tells her boyfriend not to act like the boy’s father, because it will confuse the child (he looks to be about 7-years-old). Most women would hate a man being rude to their kid, not a guy who is interacting with the boy in a very positive way, and seems to be welcoming the role of future stepfather. When the boy has a phone in his back-pack that starts ringing…she’s perplexed about where it came from. Turns out his real father gave it to him, and he’s now calling three times a day. This bothers the mom and boyfriend, yet…they never confiscate it. It seems simple enough to take the phone from the boy, and call the dad and say, “We’re on vacation, and having multiple calls from you daily isn’t our idea of a getaway. So, every few days we’ll let Little Tristan call you and chat for a few minutes, but it’s when that’s convenient for us.”
Instead, everyone just has to make nasty faces when that phone rings and the boy is having the time of his life talking to daddy.
Now when the boy asks his mom why she and dad can’t be together, that’s touching and powerful. We’ve all either been through, or witnessed, a family breaking up and how hard that can be on the young ones. Yet when the boy turns into Damian (that’s an Omen reference)…I’m wondering why the mom doesn’t discipline him a bit more. You’ll also wonder why the guy doesn’t tell his girlfriend how the boy acts. For example, they’re sawing tree branches, and the boy places the saw on his arm as if he’s about to take off a limb, and draws a bit of blood.
And if they wanted to go down the path of the boy being evil, then go that route. Instead, it straddles the fence, and just makes you scratch your head wondering what’s going on. And being a bit bored in the process.
After the boy insists on sleeping in bed with the couple, and gets upset at something during the day…mom puts his head under her sweater. They stay like that for a couple of minutes, and I said to my wife, “This just got really Oedipal on us.”
Sometimes it’s interesting when characters aren’t just one-dimensional, but it’s hard to figure out what they’re trying to tell us about Tristan. He seems to enjoy the bonding activities with mom’s boyfriend, but then he acts in a passive-aggressive manner just moments later. And the mother never seems to discipline him over any of this. In fact, she gets mad at her boyfriend because when her son tickles his face with her hair while they’re asleep, and he falls off the bed and into a mouse trap that snaps on him — he’s not supposed to be mad at this little prank.
When the boy takes the man’s shoelaces out of his hiking boots…I thought about similar antics Jonah Hill did to John C. Reilly when he was dating his mom (Marisa Tomei) in Cyrus. And just like in that movie, I wondered why the man would stay (despite both these women being gorgeous, who sticks around with torment from a little brat that isn’t disciplined for bad behavior?).
Basically, none of the actions these three are engaged in seem the least bit believable (despite good acting from the cast).
Oh, and the dialogue is uninteresting in three languages.
1 ½ stars out of 5.