Three Colors: Red (1994) (R)
Closing out his trilogy of colors, Krzysztof Kieślowski brings us "Three Colors: Red" which reaffirms the fairy tale style of writing and directing the director has—providing the viewer with a satisfactory and complex ending.
Like what "White" was to "Blue", "Red" seems to have no connection with the other two movies of the film; however, there are moments that repeat throughout the trilogy and some of the same characters pop up. Unlike "Blue" which was about overcoming grief or "White" which was about the life of an unfortunate soul striving for betterment and revenge, "Red" has main characters who are all fine when the movie opens. There is no great rift that forces them to become a different person, they are content. Yet the movie still has an entirely believable and human way of weaving its story—a testament to how great Kieślowski is.
"Red" has three important figures and one main character. Looking like Juliette Binoche from "Blue", Irène Jacob plays a young model named Valentine. She is trying to survive a long distance relationship with an untrusting man named Michel, who we never see...he is an auditory presence, yet just as real as the rest of the film. Then there's a young man named Auguste (Jean-Pierre Lorit) who is studying to be a judge. Lastly, there's a retired judge (played by the great Jean-Louis Trintignant) who likes to spy on people and listen in on their conversations.
Valentine is out driving and she accidentally runs over a dog...my mind instantly went to the opening scene from "House of Cards"; but alas, Jacob is no Kevin Spacey. Anyway, Valentine jumps out the car and looks at the dog, a now injured German shepherd. She puts the dog into her car and drives to the owner's home...this is where she meets the retired judge. He tells her to do what she wants with the dog, and then tells her to get out of his house.
Valentine takes the dog to the vet, finds out that she's expecting puppies and that she'll be fine. When a large sum of money arrives in the mail, Valentine returns to the judge's house to confront him about his eavesdropping.
"Three Colors: Red" at first seems impossible, if any film is similar to it, it would be Paul Thomas Anderson's "Magnolia". Coincidences seem to line up one after the other, but not in such a psychedelic way that Anderson has them.
A book will fall open to a page that has an answer to an exam...but not only that, it will be reflective of two lives instead of one. You get the feeling that Auguste is just a young version of the retired judge.
As with both "Blue" and "White", "Red" deals with injustices. There is nothing fair that happens to the characters, it's realism and it's bittersweet.
At its core, when you peel back the interesting shots and the color schemes, "Red" is a love story...and an impossible one at that. It's the kind of film that inspires romantic comedies like "Sleepless in Seattle" or even dramas like "Titanic"...but I was fine with that.
There is so much moodiness in the trilogy, that it was nice to see Kieślowski finally take a positive stand. Yet, it's kind of a weak move; because it would be like watching Kubrick holding true to Burgess in "A Clockwork Orange" or watching Malick finally taking a stand about 'nature vs. grace'.
Yet, even the romantic, I really liked the ending and it left the series on a high note. I think that if I go back and watch "Blue" and "White" again, it may yield interesting notes.
The "Three Colors" trilogy is about life, love, and pursuit of amazing looking movies...and it works. It may not be the perfect trilogy, but it's certainly one of the best.
Score: 3 and a half stars out of 4
Posted by Micah Jones