When Love 3D premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May, it was a major event. Everyone was there, from Benicio del Toro to Joachim Trier. I was in line behind Sony Pictures Classics co-president Michael Barker discussing whether or not The Assassin is boring. It’s an event film though not a very good one, and its very insistence on being provocative is perhaps the best argument for making a point of catching it at TIFF.
Wooden dialogue and stiff performances aside, Love 3D is not a film you see for the plot, though it does spend a significant time laboring over the very stupid lead character Murphy’s (Karl Glusman) thoughts about sex, love, and Stanley Kubrick as he vacillates between his old flame, Electra (Aomi Muyock), and his current wife (Klara Kristin). When the characters speak, you actually wonder how much difficulty they’re having forming words.
Yet despite its far-too-long running time and often boring, if meticulously framed sex scenes, Noe does occasionally get somewhere interesting. The purpose of the film, as described in the film, too, was to depict “sentimental sexuality”: What does sex look like between people in love? When the film starts to actually address this, flashing back to Murphy’s romance with Electra, it starts to get interesting. There’s a lot of emotional information depicted in the way they kiss and knock boots.
The 3D doesn’t do a whole lot for the sex scenes themselves, aside from giving us the one obligatory shot of you know what coming at us, but it does allow Noe to play humorously with sexual imagery. Murphy is constantly framed in doorways, often with long, cavernous hallways and spaces stretching out behind him, if he’s not flat out walking through them. It’s more amusing than it is sexy, which is true of much of this groan-worthy film (and not the good kind, har har) — I’ve seen more eroticism in far less graphic films — but it does justify the medium.