The Killing of Two Lovers movie poster
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The Killing of Two Lovers
The Killing of Two Lovers movie poster

The Killing of Two Lovers Movie Review

In the inauspicious opening scene to Robert Machoian’s The Killing of Two Lovers, a man stands trembling over the bed of his estranged wife, holding a pistol. It’s an eye-opening slow reveal, one that immediately draws you into the tangled but all too realistic emotional turmoil on display in this searing if not fully satisfying drama.

At a taut 84 minutes, The Killing of Two Lovers is an efficiently told and masterfully crafted exploration of a family fraying apart. Lean and unsparing, the movie leans into the mind of David, played wonderfully by Clayne Crawford, capturing and conveying the conflicting emotions and psychological toll the situation is inflicting on him.

Crawford’s grisled but relatable performance drives the film; he is a flawed individual, yes, but he loves his wife and children. Machoian circles this central tenet repeatedly, showing how people in times of confusion, desperation, and fear make minute decisions that push people you love away, or brings them closer.

And yet, between the title and the riveting opening scene, Machoian hints at a different film, a promise that doesn’t align to the one he’s made. While the machinations of the plot click loudly second by second, the true story at hand is a quaint one, and one that never boils over in the ways you’d expect. Unpredictability is a positive, but as powerfully as Machoian opens his film, he closes it in mundane fashion. The timeless quote, “That’s it?” comes to mind.

The Killing of Two Lovers is a well-made, forcefully acted drama. And it’s worth seeing for these reasons, even if it doesn’t quite explode in the way it could have.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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