The Killing of Two Lovers is one of the hardest films I had to write about due to its graphic subject matter and tone. It’s a film that is not for the lighthearted. It deals with graphic violence that is very real and raw. The filmmaker Robert Machoian created this very visceral story that isn’t easy to watch. Some of the best films aren’t easy to digest though, but they are still great. The Killing of Two Lovers is in this category.
Clayne Crawford plays the father of a big family. He is separated from his wife, but he remains close and in the lives of his children even though not all of them want to be close with him. One, in particular, resents him for the separation between him and her mother. He also struggles to make a living in a difficult time. This is part of how he and his wife have problems. She wants to know how he is going to take care of them in a lean time, a difficult financial time in an area without a lot of possibilities for him.
In a world of financial instability, health issues, and a pandemic, the world we live in can be a hard one for anybody, especially a father who struggles with his insecurities and anxieties. Men coming back from war seem to develop PTSD and can’t understand the world around them. The military offered structure and a semblance of brotherhood. The real world offers no answers to those who struggle with a lot of these issues. This man is understandably conflicted about everything around him.
The fact that the main couple is separated in the film allows them to see other people, but this isn’t usually a good thing in real life or in movies such as this. One of the others in a separated relationship has problems with the other who is dating someone else and not them. With the husband having his own issues it makes sense that he would not be okay with his wife who he’s trying to work things out with by dating other people. He just can’t get his head around it. And it doesn’t go well for anybody.
The film is set in Utah in the Fall and Winter and due to that, the cinematography doesn’t look all bright and colorful. It has a grey and cloudy feeling to it. That makes sense due to the emotional state the father is in in the film. He’s in all kinds of bad or dark moods and the atmosphere outside of their home in the plains of Utah. It makes sense to set the film in this kind of cold weather climate because of all the cold emotions that are flowing around from everybody in the film.
The Killing of Two Lovers is a dark film that shows the spiraling down of a father who’s dealt with a lot already in his life. What he’s going through now is more than what he can handle and it takes a toll on everybody. Machoian tackles some very difficult subject matter in this film, but it’s not to say it’s not things that are going on in today’s world we live in. People are struggling all over this country with various forms of pain and suffering and how they deal with it can be tragic at times, and Machoian captures that aspect of life very effectively in this film.
3 1/2 stars
Dan Skip Allen