Gaspar Noe’s ‘Love 3D’ Lacks Emotional Punch
French director Gaspar Noe has won fans in these parts with risk-taking filmmaking featuring ingenious camera work and script construction in the past with Irreversible and Enter The Void. His latest effort, the long gestating Love 3D, aims to push further boundaries and effectively portray emotional sex (unsimulated) in a relationship on screen. The results are sure to divide, but in this estimation, that’s hard to imagine.
Love stars Karl Glausman (Murphy) or in some ways, more specifically, his Johnson and acting newcomers Klara Kristin (Omi) and Aomi Muyock (Electra) and their respective bodies. Murphy is stuck living with Omi due to an unwanted pregnancy (and subsequent birth of son Gaspar) and the failure of his relationship with Electra. The film opens with Electra stroking Murphy in bed in full view and if you’re the type of viewer who would feel uncomfortable watching this sort of thing, you might as well tune out now. The sexual relationship between Murphy and Electra is told in flashbacks as he dwells on his past to forget about his present with Omi and son.
Love is a mix up of sorts of both his aforementioned films as well as 2011’s Shame and 2013’s Blue is the Warmest Color. The film has a chronography that eventually you kind of get into but the storyline of their relationship is rail thin, evoking what was said to be a 7-page shooting script. The largely poor dialogue seems improvised, acting weak and the sex is beyond gratuitous. Perhaps most disappointingly, Noe fails to show off his usual visual flair, sticking with more basic one shots of coitous and its varieties. Yes, you get your expected 3D money shot as well as 69, head, group sex and transsexual interactions. All very appealing, I’m sure.
It might be worth enduring if there was more of a story to follow. You certainly don’t care about the characters. Murphy regularly calls both of these women cunts, for no specific reason in the case of Omi. He simply detests himself and his situation as near as I can tell. You have no sense of why he fell in love with Electra or whether it was genuine love or not. The couple repeat young love mantras of sticking together and never leaving eachother, yet each fool around with other people, perhaps to show the challenge of monogamy. None of this adds up to anything of substance. FWIW, the 3D portion of the film adds very little, save for your requisite, well, you know.
In the end there are a few messages hidden throughout (European vs. Western philosophies) and a theoretically emotionally wrenching finale, where the toddler Gaspar (is this autobiographical in some ways for the director?) shines in a sterling acting role. If this was earned it would hit home, but as it is, it’s a limp finish for one of the only times in the film. Snicker, snicker. Love fails to capture the title or the director’s intent and is the lesser of all the other titles mentioned in this review. Emotionally charged it may be, but it’s ultimately too hollow for anyone to care.