Friday, May 14, 2021

The Killing of Two Lovers Review: A Compact, Tense, and Unusual Family Drama

Release date: May 14, 2021
Running time: 84 minutes
Written and Directed by: Robert Machoain
Starring: Clayne Crawford, Sepideh Moafi, Chris Coy, Avery Pizzuto, Arri Graham, Ezra Graham

The Killing of Two Lovers follows David, who desperately tries to keep his family of six together during a separation from his wife, Nikki.  They both agree to see other people but David struggles to grapple with his wife's new relationship. 

The Killing of Two Lovers is elegant in its simplicity.  The story mostly follows David who is grappling with this new life of being separated from his wife.  He is trying to stay strong for the kids while struggling with the rage and jealousy that accompanies this sudden change in situation.  The film is compact, which can be seen by the 4:3 aspect ratio and the fact that the movie moves along nicely despite its slow pace.  The 4:3 aspect ratio is very interesting, and feels like it makes some of the shots feel cramped and also lets you focus on the characters on screen.  The film is set in a small town and although not a lot happens, the movie masterfully weaves in the emotion and David's conflicted feelings to every scene.  And these scenes are beautifully done, with a small town American vibe that seeps into much about this movie.  

But it is not the scenery that is the most striking thing about this film; it is the sound.  The movie has pointed, important dialogue that tells you plenty about what is going on without having to spell it out for the viewer.  And the film has unsettling sounds throughout that keep the tension on.  The film opens with a scene that will make you wonder when and how the killing occurs, and the film then uses industrial and gun sounds within the soundtrack.  This causes you to stay on edge throughout this film, despite it almost never having to overtly scare you.  I was surprised by how tense I felt at times during very normal circumstances.  You are constantly wondering where this film will go.  The film is a powder keg and at any moment you are worried that it will go off.  

And the dialogue is so well done.  You see David trying to stay strong and mature for his kids while struggling himself with these changes.  There are some really beautiful scenes where he is objectively taking a mature look at this situation for the sake of his family contrasted with some more raw, emotional scenes where he is questioning why he agreed to this.  And it is not just David that has this.  There are great scenes with the children and with his separated wife that really let you see how much unsaid emotion is brewing in this whole scenario.  It is a wonderful way to tell this story and lets you see the many facets of this confusing but modern family change. 

The Killing of Two Lovers is a powder keg of emotion that follows a stressful family situation with great dialogue, cinematography, acting, and a compact story.

Watch it.

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The Killing of Two Lovers is in theaters and on demand starting May 14, 2021. For tickets, click here.

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