Thursday, January 30, 2020

Sundance with Abe: The Killing of Two Lovers

I’m thrilled to be attending and covering the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah for the seventh time. I’m seeing as many movies as I can each day and will post reviews of each as I can, as well as video reviews uploaded to YouTube.

The Killing of Two Lovers
Directed by Robert Machoian

A trial separation can mean many things. It’s often an opportunity for a couple to see what life looks like without their relationship being front and center. Undertaking that decision is a complicated matter, and both parties may not be completely in sync about why they’re doing it and whether or not to go forward with it. Once that period begins, both partners move in separate directions, and one hoping to get back together may be devastated by the other’s ease at moving on.

David (Clayne Crawford) is living with his father in the house he grew up in, just down the street from his wife Nikki (Sepideh Moafi) and their four children. He stops by often and takes them to school, and they occasionally schedule a date night to check in with each other. While he maintains a positive front, he is disturbed by the fact that she is apparently dating someone else (Chris Coy). His children express displeasure at that reality as well, supporting their father’s presence in their family but hardly helping his case with Nikki.

This film begins with David standing over Nikki as she sleeps in bed with a gun pointed at her head before he jumps out the window and jogs back down the street to where he’s supposed to be. That disconcerting start leaves a cloud hanging over the entire film as tensions build, particularly when David is confronted by the man who he believes is actively working to break up his family. The cinematography by Oscar Ignacio Jimenez preserves a tight focus on the film’s characters, often zooming in to show their faces up close as they navigate uncertain conversations and problematic emotions.

Crawford, best known for his roles on the TV series “Rectify” and “Lethal Weapon,” turns in a powerhouse performance as David, conveying deep pain and fury and bottling it up when he must show a brave face to his kids. Moafi, recently seen on “The L Word: Generation Q,” is terrific opposite him, making Nikki imperfect and compelling. Coy and the young actors playing David and Nikki’s children round out an excellent cast. This film, which takes place in rural Utah and has a sober, isolated feel to it, is a surprising and extremely captivating look at rich characters and the highs and lows of relationships, and everything in between.


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