According to writer-director Lucas Belvaux, there's no correct order in which to watch his interlinked trilogy of genre films: since each is linked to the others it doesn't matter where you begin or end.
It's no surprise, though, that the sombre, downbeat melodrama of Trilogy - Three was the last film to be released in both France and now the UK. A demanding and somewhat depressing experience, it would hardly encourage novice viewers to seek out the rest of this spectacular cinematic experiment.
Picking up from the previous films, Trilogy - Three focuses on Grenoble copper Pascal (Gilbert Melki) and his morphine addicted wife Agnès (Dominique Blanc), who he keeps in drugs by feeding information to the local mafia. Caught up in the investigation of escaped prisoner Bruno Le Roux (Belvaux) from Trilogy - One, while falling for married woman Cécile (Ornella Muti) from Trilogy - Two, Pascal suddenly finds himself unable to keep his wife's supply of drugs flowing.
Charting Pascal's delicate balance of police work, corrupt dealings, and love for his wife, Trilogy - Three delves deep into the psychology of these characters in a manner the previous films didn't find the time for. Depicting its heroine's drug addiction with an unflinching focus on the horrors of withdrawal and overdose, it's equally as brutal when it comes to dissecting Pascal and Agnès' relationship.
"FILL IN THE BLANKS"
Belvaux claims to be fascinated in what happens when characters go off-screen, and his aim is to fill in the blanks, giving each supporting character a richer life than they would normally have by fleshing out the details of their existence. Here, the pay-off is a touching scene missing from the first two films in which Pascal sneaks back home to find Bruno lovingly washing his wife's face.
A rich and compelling work in its own right, as well as an integral part of Belvaux's grander project, this brings the trilogy to a moving conclusion. Or beginning. Or middle. You decide.
In French with English subtitles.