The Killing of Two Lovers
The Killing of Two Lovers is an elegant, understated reflection on the concepts of family and marriage, and whether commitment to these should take priority, even when things no longer seem to be working out. Slow-paced and deliberate, the film keeps a thread of tension stretched from beginning to end, and skilfully draws the audience in.
David (Clayne Crawford) and Niki (Sepideh Moafi) are taking a break from their marriage. They have agreed that they can see other people, but are simultaneously trying to rekindle their relationship. David has moved back to his father’s house, a short distance away, but often comes to visit their three boys and teenage daughter. He sees the separation as a temporary challenge, but Niki seems projected towards a brand-new life. When David discovers that a man who refers to himself as Niki’s boyfriend has been frequenting their family home, he begins to lose control over his feelings and actions.
Everything is expressed subtly, but it is made clear that the intense feelings beneath the surface could escalate abruptly into violence at any moment. The cast does an excellent job of making every scene feel authentic without overdoing the drama. In every department, the production keeps things low-key and sticks to the essential, but it manages to build suspense by expertly alternating silences with evocative sound effects. The cinematography really stands out, with the frequent use of wide shots giving a strong sense of the environment and how it plays a key part in the storytelling. Most scenes take place outdoors where barren landscapes of rural America – vast, mostly uninhabited expanses with mountain ranges on the horizon – add pathos to the protagonist’s loneliness and desolation.
The plot is simple and unmemorable in itself, but director Robert Machoian’s focus is in the emotional realm. A sense of despair and frustration, mixed with hope and good intentions, leaves David close enough to achieving stability, yet a step away from tragedy. The film is a touching study of fragility and manhood, narrated meditatively and insightfully.
The Killing of Two Lovers is released digitally on demand on 4th June 2021.
Watch the trailer for The Killing of Two Lovers here: