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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Three - 3 - Thr3e

Thr3e (2006) on IMDb

Plot Overview

Young Kevin Parson (Bruno Jasienski) was raised by his barmy aunt Balinda (Priscilla Barnes) and eccentric uncle Eugene Parson (Tom Bower) after his parents died in an auto crash. He used the insurance money to become a “professional student” getting a BS in Engineering and an MA in English Lit. Quiet and erudite Kevin Parson (Marc Blucas) is now working on his PhD in Theology, but after three “prodigal” drafts he has hit a wall with his thesis on The Nature of Evil. His academic advisor suggests he look for a door in the wall.

Some kind of door opens in the form of a copycat Riddle Killer (R.K.) who harries him with bomb threats tied to riddles, imminent dead­lines, and a demand for confession. While the police pursue the real R.K. as well as the pretender, Kevin's child­hood friend Samantha Sheer (Laura Jordan) who is an insurance investigator helps him track down a past neigh­bor­hood bully Slater (Bill Mosely) whom they think is the current culprit.

The investigation(s) go in circles allowing a presumably Christian, theater audience to ponder larger questions raised in theology class, questions of nomothetic evil. As the number ‘3’ keeps surfacing in the story, we surmise that the three investigations are all of a piece.


The lecturer holds forth that, “Man's struggle against evil started in the garden and continues unabated because of the fall.” It reached a choke point when it necessarily had to propagate through three lines: (Gen. 9:18-19) “And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth over­spread.” (Canaan will represent the line of his father Ham.) There was soon a revealing incident (Gen. 9:20-23) where it is seen that the line of Ham is morally inferior to the lines of Noah's other two sons, and Noah passed a continuing judgment (Gen. 9:24-27) to help keep Ham's evil in check.

In “Thr3e” one riddle's answer has to do with “black and white,” so let's look at race divisions: From Shem come the Semites, of course. Writer Bodie Hodge holds forth that: “Generally, from the Middle East in the land of Shinar (modern-day Iraq, where Babel was), Japheth's descendants went north toward Europe and Asia, Ham's went toward Africa, and Shem's remained in the Middle East” (183). The servitude of Ham as passing to his youngest son Canaan also encompassed his son Cush, see Gen. 10:6. Cush is Hebrew for black, whose descendants settled in Africa. Canaan is the youngest son of Ham carrying the curse on the whole family by a figure of speech called a synecdoche where a part stands for the whole. (Jasher 73:35) “For the Lord our God gave Ham the son of Noah, and his children and all his seed, as slaves to the children of Shem and to the children of Japheth, and unto their seed after them for slaves, forever.”

Lincoln's faceEventually there arose the Atlantic slave trade, and then came America's Civil War when Preident Lincoln freed the slaves but still allowed some measure of segregation in the South. William P. Pickett, discussing Abraham Lincoln's solution to the negro problem, has in 1909 written:

The reason the negro has failed to achieve a higher position is superficially considered to arise from the fact that there exists against him what is called “race prejudice” on the part of the white, which closes to him every avenue of opportunity. The employment of the word “prejudice” in this relation is singularly inaccurate. By derivation and established meaning, it signifies an opinion formed or decision made with­out due examination; a prejudgment of the matter involved. Such is not the attitude of the Caucasian towards the negro. In strict accuracy we may say that in the United States there exists on the part of the white people a strong antipathy against the negro, not superficial or unreason­able but founded upon the instinct for racial purity dominating the superior race. (16–17.)

Martin Luther King
Jr.The lecturer in “Thr3e” tells the class, “The early Christian philosophers borrowed from Plato when writing about evil.” He then diagrams Aristotle and Plato giving way to St. Augustine who said, “Evil was beyond the reach of no man.” Our near-contemporary philosopher on evil and race would be Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK). He also quoted St. Augustine when justifying his goals and methods:

You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 out­lawing segregation in public schools, it is rather strange and paradoxical to find us consciously breaking laws. One may well ask, “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer is found in the fact that there are two types of laws: There are just and there are unjust laws. I would agree with Saint Augustine that, “An unjust law is no law at all.”

In “Thr3e” aunt Balinda held that, “Eisenhower was the only worthy President.” But our lecture already told us that, “Evil was beyond the reach of no man.” Let's see how Eisen­hower stacks up on the separation of powers, there being three: legislative, judicial and executive. From Lionel Hampton's autobiography we read:

I remember one time Walter White, head of the NAACP, … told me about what led up to the Supreme Court decision in the school desegregation case in 1954. Walter told me he … phoned Eisenhower and requested an appointment. He said he went there and listed all the reasons why school segregation was wrong. He said that if the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case Brown v. Board of Education and ruled [for] desegregation, it would break the back of segregation in American society. He said, “Mr. President, this is the last chance for you to help us.” Eisenhower listened, didn't say a word. But then he picked up the telephone, and said, “Get me Chief Justice Earl Warren.” And he got on the phone with Warren, and he said he knew the president was not supposed to put pressure on the Supreme Court, but he was going to send Walter White over to talk to him about the case. And the Supreme Court decided to hear the case and ruled in favor of the NAACP lawyers and desegregation. (97–98)

busingEisenhower made a special trip to Brown's Southern school when it got integrated; this was IKE's baby. There wasn't much separation of the powers in that Court decision. We feel a little ill at ease with the black detective in this movie working the case, in the same way a superior was not comfortable with police psychologist Jennifer Peters (Justine Waddell) remaining on the R.K. case after the Riddle Killer killed her brother. She was too emotionally involved. There needed to be some separation from it. For that matter, in a psychological sense, Kevin needed more separation between his ego and his friends and opponents. The movie is all of a piece and it can move its more theological viewers towards the segregationist camp in a society where separations in places are desirable.

Production Values

” (2006) was directed by Robby Henson. Its screenplay was written by Alan McElroy, based on the book THR3E by Christian novelist Ted Dekker. It stars Marc Blucas, Justine Waddell, and Laura Jordan. The acting was fair to middling. Waddell was an unfor­tu­nate casting choice, because she was too pretty to come across as a troubled policewoman.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for violence, disturbing images and terror. Yet it seemed like its production company Fox Faith was trying to avoid titillating material that Christians might find objection­able. It maintains a steady pace and offers a surprise or two in it. It holds together rather well as far as plot integrity.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

I would call “Thr3e” interesting because it is overlaid with philosophical food for thought as the baffled police try to work through riddles while a brainy theology student has his own inner demons to confront. It's nicely done and avoids various excesses on the screen. It's worth a viewing.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

The Book of Jasher. Translated from the Hebrew into English (1840). Photo litho­graphic reprint of exact edition published by J.H. Parry & Co., Salt Lake City: 1887. Muskogee, OK: Artisan Pub., 1988. Print, WEB.

Hampton, Lionel (with James Haskins). Hamp an Autobiography. New York: Amistad, 1993. Print.

Hodge, Bodie. Tower of Babel: The Cultural History of Our Ancestors. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Pub., 2013. Print.

King Jr., Martin Luther. Letter From Birmingham Jail. 1963. Print.

Pickett, William P. The Negro Problem: Abraham Lincoln's Solution. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1909. Print.