TIFF 2017 Review: “Three Peaks” (2017) ★★★★★

In most cases, we don’t really want to follow up on any type of ending we might be left with afterwards. We just watch it, enjoy it depending on subject matter and that’s it. But with Three Peaks written and directed by Jan Zabeil you will wish to get into the screen, join the life of its characters and see where it will take them from that moment on. And when that happens, and it will with Zabeil’s piece, you just can raise a symbolic glass of champagne to celebrate Zabeil’s great achievement with his second and superbly written feature film.

Aaron (Alexander Fehling) could be the best father any child would dream of. He is playful, kind, caring and willing to sacrifice his time for the well-being and inner harmony of Tristan, his girlfriend Lea’s (Bérénice Bejo), 8-year-old son. To emphasize his affection and serious intention towards Lea, Aaron invites them on a trip to the mountains. Seemingly quiet and uneventful days with breathtaking view turns into a dangerous game over affection of Tristan, with whom the little boy should share his love, and why a man must keep the thin line before anyone else does it on his behalf… and that no one else unexpectedly turns out to be Tristan.

Lea simply adores Aaron and loves her own son, Tristan, even more. However, Tristan’s behavior or his strange attitude towards Aaron significantly changes as the story unfolds. He starts telling Aaron that, he sees monsters, and suggests that the monster can be even him. His explanation becomes more powerful when we see Tristan’s rejection of Aaron as he continues despising him even more, especially at night when Lea and Aaron try to enjoy their private moments.

At some point, and that’s what happened to me, I simply found difficult to continue watching Three Peaks. Thanks to the outstanding performance delivered by Arian Montgomery, there is no way he would be accepted or liked by any viewer. But some, though, can understand his pain or unwillingness to share his beloved mother with any other man, other than his father, with whom Lea is being divorced. Luckily, Tristan is a fictional character, otherwise somebody one day could have reported him to the police, one would say. But again, if you will get that kind of feelings towards a little boy, it means his part of the job was done and done beautifully.

Bérénice Bejo always shines in any role she takes. Her character study or even approach will never stop amazing me. With her Lea, it gives another insight into the rich world of Bejo, who never hesitates to accept challenging roles, such as Lea. Alexander Fehling as Aaron is admirable. In some scenes, he showcases Aaron’s anger that was never meant to be visible, but enough for you to notice. And you can understand, his Aaron does everything possible to win the fight over Lea, but the problem is, the opponent he chose was way stronger and more intelligent than him, even though that opponent was a jealous and unpredictable boy who is willing to do anything to have the final word.

In conclusion, Three Peaks is an excellent drama about three different people: Lea, who tries to be a compass between two men; Aaron, whose determination to retain the love he has, and Tristan, who does not want to give the same love away. It’s about competition. It’s about family. It’s about who has right to love more, and who has not. But in the end, it’s life that matters most, it just happened the heroes of Zabeil’s film see it in differently which will leave you in complete disbelief, speechless and frightened, hoping that whatever you saw in the film will never happen in real life.




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