The Killing of Two Lovers, 2020.
Directed by Robert Machoian.
Starring Clayne Crawford, Chris Coy, Sepideh Moafi, Avery Pizzuto, Arri Graham, Bruce Graham, Ezra Graham and Jonah Graham.
David (Clayne Crawford) and Nikki (Sepiedeh Moafi) are going through a trial separation. Derek (Chris Coy) only complicates matters by getting in the middle. With their relationship hanging in the balance, things could go either way.
This bleak relationship drama is a movie of mixed messages, elevated by an abstract soundtrack and its use of desolate landscape. Writer director Robert Machoian, uses the breath taking backdrop of snow topped peaks, alongside Utah’s barren tundra to maintain tone and draw audiences in. Introductions are low key and punctuated by a unique sound design, which instils tension and imbues every frame with friction.
Clayne Crawford’s David carries a majority of the film, sketching isolation and martial estrangement through awkward moments. Sepideh Moafi’s Nikki completes this off kilter partnership, as both actors search to convey the upheaval of trial separation. Loaded guns, honest conversations and everyday life are captured in a film which never relies on melodrama.
David and Nikki are delicately drawn, depicting emotional realism despite the insecurity of an uncertain future. The Killing of Two Lovers is a film shaped round small moments. Cinematographer Oscar Ignacio Jimenez is more observational in his construction of shots, making the audience vicarious in their complicity.
Much of this film feels like a genuine intrusion, as arguments erupt and dissipate just as quickly in the presence of young children. Avery Pizzuto’s Jess further complicates the dynamic by venting adolescent frustrations, as well as dishing out some home truths. David hovers on the brink of confrontation throughout, as he drifts between removal jobs. His grip on the relationship weakens as Chris Coy’s Derek complicates matters further. He is an unwelcome third wheel in a dynamic designed for two. When they finally meet any violence is short lived, while repercussions evoke honest epiphanies and genuine catharsis.
Robert Machoian and sound designer Peter Albrechtsen have created an immersive experience, which puts audiences inside the moment. Confusion and frustration are mirrored through the eclectic, as soundtrack and central protagonist react in unison. Low key tempered reactions to their imminent separation are down played by everyone else. Respite is rare, coming through only in the naturalistic performances of David’s younger brood. Their naivete and innocence punctuate this film’s oppressive tone, introducing hope into a seemingly lost cause.
The Killing of Two Lovers is riveting in its depiction of a universal truth many will identify with. People often make choices based on emotion and decided in the moment, which carry a lifelong price tag. As the same individuals grow old together, reality kicks in and realisations come with a degree of regret. Not for the love they once shared, or those things which came about through their union, but for something more intangible. An answer that remains elusive even after David and Nikki reach a resolution.
For some the meandering pace of this introverted experience may defeat them. Revelations are not forthcoming; closure is subjective and life goes on. This maybe more reality than some audiences are comfortable with, but for others it may prove life changing.
The Killing of Two Lovers is in Theatres and on demand May 14th.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★