The Killing of Two Lovers

Written by Michael Clawson


The Nest in flyover country; tense marriage and family drama dressed up as a crime thriller rather than a horror movie, set amid the barren, snow-dusted streets and fields of small-town Utah in winter rather than the gloomy British countryside. In other words, The Nest meets Wildlife (or Certain Women, except the gap between my fondness for that movie and Machoian’s is too enormous for me want to underline that connection). 

Machoian’s eye for the setting – the worn brick houses, the wide roads, the vast swaths of land – does a lot of the heavy lifting for me. I like that he uses long takes to not just sustain tension, but also to establish and explore space: it’s all the more difficult for David to shake the thought of his wife sleeping with another man when the house she’s doing it in is only an easy jog down the street. I also like his framing, like when David takes the kids to the park to launch rockets, and Machoian stages the action off to the left, all the negative space off to the right holding the unease that eventually releases when the daughter snaps. Other choices are poorly judged, like the extreme close ups when David and Nikki go out on their date.

A potential for violence is the film’s fuel for suspense, but I sometimes didn’t feel like David’s stifled rage and his fatherly gentleness were two sides of the same coin. It’s more like Machoian hints at David’s interiority only when he thinks he needs to shovel more coal in the fire of movie’s genre engine. At the risk of belaboring the comparison, where The Nest’s tension is diffuse and vague (my preference), the source of suspense in The Killing of Two Lover’s is more concentrated, and tapped in some minorly gimmicky ways.

The Killing of Two Lovers Trailer

The Killing of Two Lovers is available to stream on Hulu and rent or purchase on major VOD platforms.

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Episode 113: Best of 2021 So Far

“I believe that as much as you influence your film, the film also influences you. You think you are in control but then things happen that you didn’t anticipate. That’s cinema, and you need to be open and listen to your film.”

Dea Kulumbegashvili, Director of Beginning

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This week on Drink in the Movies Michael & Taylor discuss their 10 favorite films of 2021 so far, as well as hand out show awards for Wounded Soldiers, Squandered Talents, Best Ensemble, Best Documentary, Best OST, Best Actor and Actress(Lead and Supporting), Best Directorial Debut, and Best Classic Discovery.

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Michael Clawson on Letterboxd | Taylor Baker on Letterboxd

Forget which film you wanted to check out while listening? Find links to both Taylor and Michael’s lists below: Michael’s Top 10 on Letterboxd | Taylor’s Top 10 on Letterboxd

Episode 105: Saint Maud / Shiva Baby

“I wasn’t particularly thinking about the likes of Carrie or The Exorcist during writing or shooting, but I can see in hindsight how people have drawn those parallels. Maybe I did it subconsciously without realising.”

Rose Glass

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This week on Drink in the Movies Michael & Taylor discuss their First Impressions of: Hope & The Killing of Two Lovers and the Feature Films: Saint Maud and Shiva Baby.

Anna Harrison’s Review of Shiva Baby.

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Saint Maud and Shiva Baby are currently available to rent or purchase

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