In the unfavorable opening scene with Robert Machoians Killing two loversA man stands trembling over his estranged wife’s bed, holding a gun. It’s an eye-opening slow reveal that instantly pulls you into the tangled but all-too-realistic emotional turmoil featured in this searing, if not entirely satisfying, drama.
At a tight 84 minutes, Killing two lovers is an efficiently narrated and masterfully crafted exploration of a family that is frayed. Slim and relentless, the film is based on David, who is wonderfully played by Clayne Crawford and who captures and conveys the contradicting emotions and the psychological toll that the situation inflicts on him.
Crawford’s gruesome but relatable achievement drives the film. He’s a flawed person, yes, but he loves his wife and children. Machoian repeatedly orbits this central tenet, demonstrating how in times of confusion, despair, and fear, people make tiny decisions that push away or bring them closer to the people they love.
And yet, between the title and the thrilling opening scene, Machoian hints at another film, a promise that doesn’t match the one he’s made. While the machinations of the plot click loudly second after second, the real story is a curious one and one that never boils over as you expect it to. Unpredictability is positive, but as powerfully as Machoian opens his film, he closes it in a worldly way. The timeless quote “Is that it?” comes to mind.
Killing two lovers is a well done, powerfully played drama. And it’s worth watching for these reasons, even if it doesn’t explode the way it could have been.
Rating by Erik Samdahl, unless otherwise stated.