This tale of a modern-day sexual encounter starts with an online flirtation between Fede, a young gay man, and an older gay couple whose relationship is several years old. They flirt on webcam and MSN Messenger, teasing the viewer and each other with a little nudity and eventually decide to meet up.
Fede goes around to their flat and they have dinner together. It’s a very relaxed and unrushed sexual encounter that shows the characters taking a little time to get to know one another, which is nice to see rather than just jumping into bed together. As they talk, the relationship between the older men opens up, as does Fede when talking about himself, and both the characters and the viewer understand a little more about how neither side’s situation is as perfect as it seems from the outside.
The most remarkable thing about The Third One is the threeway sex scene that goes on for quite a while, perhaps even too long, actually. It’s all very artily done; all shot from the waist up and nicely teasing. While the scene is titillating, very little would have been lost from the narrative of the film if it had been shorter, or not included at all.
The Third One is very 21st Century. It’s very honest, quite open and not ashamed of itself. There’s nothing sinister or clandestine about their encounter, and there’s an all-round air of respect and general tenderness that doesn’t immediately come to mind when one thinks of a gay couple recruiting a younger third to join them for the evening.
The dialogue is very well written and swoops with ease from flirty, general chatter over dinner to deeper things that definitely move away from the impending sexual encounter they’re all anticipating. It seems very true to life to see the conversation move in a different direction after a very innocent question ends up having a different answer to what’s expected, or an offhand comment becomes the focus of the conversation.
The film hangs together well; the sex scene was hot, the actors confident and comfortable in their roles and the cinematography throughout was inventive enough to keep conversation around a dinner table entertaining without being pretentious (keep your eyes open for the bottomless bottle of wine). However there were some moments with the three characters interacting that were poorly paced; it could have been tighter in that regard.
The sexual elements of the flirting in the first 10 minutes are interspersed with videos of hardcore porn, all showing sex from the waist down, very anonymous, graphic and animalistic, which next to the actual sex that the three of them have seems much more human and enjoyable as the audience is shown a sexual interaction between three people, not just three sets of genitals.
Overall Verdict: Intimate and interesting film about love, relationships and sex in the 21st century, and how unconventional sexual arrangements don’t have to be anonymous and shame-filled, but instead can be something fun, sexy and very human.
Reviewer: Scott Elliott