I continuously remind myself that romance films are often based on truly horrible notions that we put in our heads, hoping that love conquers all. Then again, how much fun is a romance if two people meet, fall in love, and live happily ever after? That’s a short ten minutes. Love gets real complicated in Daryl Ferrara and Kate Forsatz’s Threebound.
Threebound is the story of Sarah (Kate Forsatz) and Matt (Jason Griffith), who both recently experienced devastating breakups. In a chance meeting, the two commiserate with one another and suddenly find they have great chemistry. Before Matt can seal the deal with a kiss, Sarah pumps the brakes saying that she feels Matt is too special to be her “rebound” relationship. Matt agrees, and the two decide to have sex with three other people each before attempting to start a relationship.
I don’t want to judge, but am I the only one seeing that this is not a good strategy to ultimately hook up with one’s soulmate? Again, why ruin the story with logic? Honestly, this is the fun of writing a romance, and clearly, writer/co-director/star Kate Forsatz is having fun with this insane idea of love. The fun comes in exploring how this choice might play out along with its consequences.
Matt and Sarah start by establishing rules — only three people each, just sex, and no anal (joking). The two will meet weekly for brunch and ask only two questions about their recent “encounters.” As expected, everything gets complicated. Every experience is accompanied by vast and varied swings of emotions with each new partner. Then the feelings they have for one another as friends, and maybe lovers, become a source of significant conflict, jealousy, and inadequacy, preventing the would-be couple from being open and honest, as they hold back their true feelings.
“Sarah pumps the brakes saying that she feels Matt is too special to be her ‘rebound’ relationship.”
In and of itself, romances are problematic, and Threebound decides to make the best of the problem rather than finding a way to present something different creatively. The biggest issue is the certainty of the film’s ending. From the opening minutes, you know where the story is going and our lovers’ final fate. The story structure is also fairly standard. The plan works until the height of the second act, and then it doesn’t. The problem is the audience is way ahead of the game from the start, and we’re just waiting for the expected shoes to drop.
Rather than break the standard structure, the filmmakers make up for it in the acting. Forsatz is especially good as Sarah. Considering it is her story, she has a firm handle on the characters and understands her role and the story’s progression. She’s likable as hell. Griffith is an excellent choice as the counterpart. He’s got the everyman vibe, which makes him relatable. With both characters being likable and relatable, we find ourselves rooting for them, which is precisely what carries us to the end.
Threebound is a very sold film. Directors Ferrara and Forsatz are bound to make another, which they should. The film’s main weakness is the cinematography, and being an indie film, the problem is obvious… money. Much of the film is done with handheld cameras and single takes. I’m sure the availability of specific locations was cost-prohibitive, but it’s noticeable.
Weaknesses aside, Threebound is a fun watch, particularly if you’re into romances. Big studio romances succeed because they have A-list celebs staring in it and a lot of money for lavish and romantic locales. The low-budget, independent, Threebound delivers solid performances and a good story.
"…a firm handle on the characters and...the story's progression."