Maria Pakulnis and Daniel Olbrychski star in "The Decalogue: Three," directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski for Warner Bros.

The Decalogue: Three (1990, Krzysztof Kieslowski)

How much one likes Three might be related to how much manipulation one is willing to put up with from a filmmaker. Kieslowski is masterful with manipulation this episode, so much so he doesn’t even pause when visibly guiding the viewer through. He isn’t ashamed, he isn’t proud, it’s just how he does things. It’s too inept to be pretentious.

The best example from Three is the idiotic car chase. Kieslowski and photographer Piotr Sobocinski don’t stage it competently. For all Kieslowski’s flourishes, moving ones escape him. He rarely attempts them (which makes the car chase particularly jarring).

The story has a reformed if unapologetic adulterer (Daniel Olbrychski) out for a Christmas Eve overnight with his former lover, Maria Pakulnis, looking for her husband. Is she mentally sound? Will he discover some dark secret?

After teasing some depth, Kieslowski goes a really simple route. Three moves fine, just goes nowhere.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski; written by Krzysztof Piesiewicz and Kieslowski; director of photography, Piotr Sobocinski; edited by Ewa Smal; music by Zbigniew Preisner; production designer, Halina Dobrowolska; produced by Ryszard Chutkowski; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Daniel Olbrychski (Janusz), Maria Pakulnis (Ewa) and Joanna Szczepkowska (Janusz’ Wife).


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