Minimalist in the best way, “Those Three” is an involving chamber drama about a trio of disgruntled army conscripts who lose their bearings, both psychological and physical, in a featureless snowscape. Driven as much by its tech side as by its performances and dialogue, this chilling first feature by Iranian shortsmaker Naghi Nemati should receive a warm welcome by discerning fest auds worldwide.
Three protags are first seen enjoying a bath in a hot spring: tough-faced, athletic Yousef (Yousef Yazdani), bespectacled Dariush (Dariush Ghazbani) and chubby Essi (Esmail Movahedian). On the last day of their military training, before being posted throughout the country, Essi decides to just walk away, and is followed by the others — into an all-white hell of driving wind, deep snow and cold mist. Hopelessly lost, exhausted and bickering, they join up with a pregnant woman (Fatemeh Mir-Soleimanifard), who’s been robbed and abandoned. Two years in the making, in a remote region, pic has an authenticity — but also tight dramatic construction — that’s utterly convincing, with surprisingly effective lensing of the snow sequences and a detailed natural soundtrack (by Behrooz Shehmat). Slim running time is just right.