Director Robert Machoian tapes into the effects of martial separation in NEON’s The Killing of Two Lovers. Primarily known for his shorts, Machoian’s third feature film stars Clayne Crawford as David a man who has recently separated from his wife Nikki (Sepideh Moafi). The couple married young and have four children together but hit a rough patch in their marriage.
David is still clearly in love with his wife, while Nikki has some feelings for her husband. David decides to move in with his dad, who lives a few houses away to keep a sense of normalcy for his kids. However, Nikki begs to date the diabolical Derek (Chris Coy) and David has trouble coping with the new relationship. Over the run time of eighty-five minutes, writer and director Robert Machoian takes on a journey with David as he tries to save his family.
When I first saw the trailer for The Killing of Two Lovers, the closing image of David walking in on his wife and her lover stuck with me. My initial feeling on the feel were that David would kill his wife and lover and the film would trace us back to what led to the events. Ironically, this does not happen, instead Robert Machoian wants to the audience to identify with David and why he feels the way that he does.
I loved that the film takes place in Kanosh, Utah as it gives the film a sense of realism where everyone knows your business. Machoian highlights the rural beauty of the state throughout long takes and wide shots that correlate with the characters and what occurs on screen. That said The Killing of Two Lovers is truly an art for cinephiles. One particular scene involving Derek and David features an aspect ratio change that I did not catch on to immediately due to the engaging dialogue between the actors.
The acting is fine in the film; however, this is essentially the Clayne Crawford show. I have always likened Crawford to the late Luke Perry. In the sense that both men had leading man, looks that could have easily found them pigeonholed in romantic comedies but they choose to focus on character actors.
Crawford gained many fans with his take on Martin Riggs in the Lethal Weapon series but in The Killing of Two Lovers, he gets a chance flex his acting chops.
At its core The Killing of Two Lovers is a calling card indie drama that may raise questions with mainstream moviegoers due to its title, but fans of thought provoking cinema will find something to love her.
Final Grade: B
The Killing of Two Lovers is available to stream now and is showing in limited theaters