The Killing of Two Lovers
Stars: Clayne Crawford, Sepideh Moafi, Chris Coy, Avery Pizzuto, Bruce Graham
Writer-director Machoian’s solo feature debut is an understated and economic but gripping study of wounded masculinity and marital disintegration.
It begins ominously as a man points his gun above a sleeping couple. The man holding the gun is David (Crawford) and the couple are his wife Nikki (Moafi) and her boyfriend Derek (Coy). When a noise comes from the bathroom David flees before pulling the trigger.
David and Niki are having a trial separation and they have agreed, David clearly reluctantly, that they are allowed to see other people. While Nikki has remained with their four children in their house, while studying to be a lawyer, David, a wannabe musician who now does odd jobs, is rooming with his dad (Graham), their bickering relationship suggesting that David, humiliatingly, has reverted back to a dependent teenage state.
David still has good relationship with the three young boys, although his teenage daughter Jess (Pizzuto) is resentful that her parents can’t just patch up their differences. A sequence when he buys rockets to amuse the children is almost unbearably poignant.
Crawford is excellent as David, a flawed man on a downward slide, but also sensitive, emotionally articulate and far from the mere frustrated tinderbox protagonist the opening scene moots. Although her character get far less screentime, Moafi impresses as Nikki, a woman weighing up her limited options, while mindful of family bonds and responsibilities.
Despite the 85 minute running time, the pace is leisurely with the long static shots imbuing the picture with a naturalistic fee. Cinematographer Oscar Ignacio Jiménez, shooting in boxy 4:3 aspect ratio effectively evokes the hardscrabble desolate Utah life, while emphasising David’s dwindling option. The percussive, droning scores serves as another indicator of his troubled mind.
The Killing of Two Lovers is released on 4th June and available to stream via Curzon Home Cinema
Follow David on @DWill_Crackfilm