A love triangle goes dry in the Southland hills


on February 15, 2008 by Sara Schieron

There’s a strange sort of vacuousness to Tre, Eric Byler’s newest installment on relationships amidst directionless twentysomethings.

The titular character is a hard-to-like trust-fund baby, large enough to be menacing but un-ambitious enough to seem harmless. Tre (Daniel Cariaga) enters the story fresh from a breakup. He comes running to the house of his lifelong friend Gabe (Erik McDowell), who’s now living with another trust-fund baby, Kekela (Kimberly-Rose Wolter). Kekela’s friend Nina (Tiffany Towers) has been staying with them during a trial separation. Her husband kissed a woman at a party for 10 seconds, which “is really long if you’re not supposed to be doing it.” Though Tre is petulant to her, she ends up in bed with him, suggesting a pattern of attraction and repulsion that could be credited for every tryst Tre’s ever had. When Gabe proposes to Kekela, Kekela’s sharp disgust for Tre curiously develops into a strange and angsty sort of attraction. Tre suggests she hold his hand for 10 seconds, just to see if she really wants to marry Gabe. They both have to lie about their feelings afterwards.

On the outskirts of Los Angeles, the home that Tre has wrecked seems divorced from any social environment or from the city it neighbors. As such, the unstable couples in this ranch-style home are unmoored, as if at sea in the desert landscape.

An unofficial sequel to Byler’s first feature Charlotte Sometimes, the film is overwhelmed by what Byler calls “anti-romance.” It’s true you seldom feel a desire to see these couples together, no matter how much they copulate. Their odd disinterest in each other seems logical, though they ritually pair. Sex and confrontation are interchangeable constants in this universe, and both usually touch upon some sort of disloyalty. Most impressive are the character revelations that follow each betrayal. The betrayals themselves are somewhat predictable; their outcomes, less so.

Distributor: Cine Libre
Cast: Daniel Cariaga, Kimberly-Rose Wolter, Erik McDowell and Tiffany Towers
Director: Eric Byler
Screenwriters: Kimberly-Rose Wolter & Eric Byler
Producers: Richardo Connolly, Kimbery de Barros Connolly and Phillippe Diaz
Genre: Drama
Rating: Unrated
Running time: 87 min
Release date: February 15

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