Three Way (2004)    0 Stars



Three Way (2004)

Director: Scott Ziehl

Cast: Dominic Purcell, Joy Bryant, Ali Larter

Synopsis: A sexy noir-thriller based on Gil Brewer’s 1963 pulp novel Wild to Possess.




This is one of those films in which there are no heroes and no likable people. Come to think of it, there are no smart people either, just a bunch of greedy sex-starved losers with no redeeming features and futures as dim as their brains. They are tangled up in an edgy little thriller that wants to be noir but doesn’t really know how to go about it. That foreshadowing of doom so often found in noir films is present, but only because the lead male character (played by Dominic Purcell) is so thick you just know he’s going to screw everything up before the end credits roll. He looks cool chugging on his beer and smoking his cigarettes and he has some neat tattoos but he doesn’t really have a clue…

In a confusing and disjointed prologue we are introduced to Lewis (Purcell) and his wife engaging in a little rumpy. Wifey’s just going through the motions though — or not, if you see what I mean — and, immediately afterwards, walks out on him to take up with another man. Presumably boarding the couple’s love boat with the intention of shooting them as he has a gun, Lewis finds someone has already plugged them while they were enjoying a spot of rumpy, so — bizarrely — sails out into the ocean to dispose of the bodies. Having done so, our thicko hero can’t find his gun…
Eight months later he’s planting signs along a highway when he overhears illicit lovers Isobel (Ali Larter) and Ralph (Desmond Harrington) discussing their plan to kidnap Ralph’s wife and kill her once they receive the ransom money as they indulge in a bout of rumpy. Later, Lewis goes back to the deserted gas station he calls home and has a bit of rumpy with his dusky girlfriend Rita (Joy Bryant) in the shower after disclosing his plan to her to steal the hostage from the kidnappers. Then, hiding in Isobel’s house for no apparent reason, he watches her and Ralph enjoying a little rumpy as they discuss their kidnap plan…

You may have noticed a pattern emerging here…

Despite its suggestive title Three Way isn’t a soft core porn flick but it might as well be, and it’s a surprise to discover this is actually based on a 60s pulp novel by Gil Brewer who, as well as writing such epics as Backwoods Teaser and Nude on Thin Ice, was an Ellery Queen ghost writer. Director Scott Ziehl seems to be having a whale of a time with his mostly attractive cast, and seems particularly fond of time-lapse photography (although thankfully not during the rumpy parts) as we see more shadows racing across the screen and boats jigging back and forth like fidgety kids than we do naked boobs.

The storyline is unnecessarily convoluted as it repeatedly tries to outwit the viewer. It largely manages to do this by using the cleverest twist I’ve seen in a recent film — it actually follows the most predictable and obvious path open to it. It does produce a whopper of a twist at the end that is handled almost cursorily, as if the writers knew they had to produce some kind of twist because all crime films these days have one and this was the best they could come up with. It’s handled so badly that we’re deprived of even that brief thrill of enlightenment before the plot holes shine through like the sun through bullet holes in a wall. The twist in this film truly travels beyond ludicrous and into the realms of the plainly impossible.

For all this, there’s an undoubtedly trashy appeal about the whole thing that keeps you watching even though you know it’s rubbish. There is also the lovely Gina Gershon, who is worth watching in anything, and who, at 42, looks twice as hot as her two younger female co-stars. Sadly, she only has about ten minutes screen time — and some of that is spent with a balaclava pulled over her head.


3-Way (Trailer) 2004 – Ali Larter


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