Critics' Pick

Tre (NR)

Drama 87 February 1, 2008
By Tim Grierson
Unlike most indie dramas about rudderless twentysomethings who exorcise their hang-ups by talking and screwing one another to death, Tre is something rare: a perceptive, nonindulgent chamber piece that wrings a little art from that anxious time. Needing a break from life in the city, professional slacker Tre (Daniel Cariaga) crashes at the home of best buddy Gabe (Erik McDowell) and Gabe's girlfriend, Kakela (co-writer Kimberly-Rose Wolter), only to discover the guest room is already occupied by Nina (Alix Koromzay), an aspiring actress newly separated from her husband. Tre begins a passionless affair with Nina while Gabe and Kakela ponder marriage, silently observing their houseguests' exploits from a distance. Directed and co-written by Eric Byler (Charlotte Sometimes), Tre suffers from a familiar quarterlife-crisis setup, but the film repeatedly sidesteps the clichés of confessional dramas, eschewing "I feel this way — and therefore so does my whole generation" monologues for the naturalistic patter of sympathetic, half-formed adults whose unstable sex lives belie a deeper, unspoken malaise. All four performers deliver nicely subtle turns, but the best of the group is newcomer Cariaga. In the wrong hands, Tre would be just another enigmatic nonconformist who learns how to open his heart, but Cariaga makes into an uncertain man-child juggling the fashionable cynicism that protects him with the genuine feelings that will lead him to maturity or heartbreak.
Eric Byler Daniel Cariaga, Kimberly-Rose Wolter, Erik McDowell, Alix Koromzay, Teddy Chen Culver, Eric Hackett, Jackie O'Brian, Tiffany Towers Kimberly-Rose Wolter, Eric Byler Philippe Diaz Cinema Libre Studio