David (Clayne Crawford) and Nikki (Sepideh Moafi) married right out of high school, quickly began having children — four to be exact — and lived what many would consider an average life. Eventually, however, the monotony caused the two to separate and attempt to date other people. The Killing of Two Lovers sees David doing all that he can to save his family and keep them together. However, as he struggles with the reality of his situation, it becomes more and more difficult for David to deal with the fact that the woman he loves is seeing another man. Life becomes a whirlwind of emotion, and David faces obstacles far more challenging than he had ever expected. What is David willing to do to right the wrongs in his life?
Crawford is a sound actor; everything he says and does feels real and relatable. There is no doubt that what he has to offer makes everyone around him better, in particular the four young talents that play his children. Avery Pizzuto, Arri Graham, Ezra Graham, and Bruce Graham clearly possess the ability to convey emotion and bring to life writer-director Robert Machoian’s vision, but what allows them to be so convincing in each and every moment is the fact that Crawford is present.
“…it becomes more and more difficult for David to deal with the fact that the woman he loves is seeing another man.”
As beautiful and simplistic as The Killing of Two Lovers is, there is something truly amazing about the layered and ambiguous ending of the dramatic narrative. As it comes to an end, there is a clear time gap, and viewers are intentionally forced to play out a number of potential scenarios in their heads, each one more grueling than the last. The mystery present in those closing moments contorts the film into something entirely different from what viewers had expected. While all signs pointed north throughout the story, a swift change of direction alters the viewers’ understanding of what has transpired. This quick and witty transition brings the film to an incredibly twisted end, something that viewers didn’t expect but are grateful for.
There are moments toward the beginning that feel difficult to relate to. Given the fact that I’ve been fortunate enough not to find myself in a situation similar to David and Nikki, it initially felt like the ability to identify with the couple’s plights would escape me. However, this very specific scenario bleeds into something bigger and more understandable as aspects of reality from all walks of life make their way into David and Nikki’s tale. I can see pieces of myself in the couple’s struggles, and it forces emotions to the surface, reminding me of both the difficulty and the beauty within my life.
The phrase “roller coaster of emotions” may seem like a watered-down cliché, but the reality is that The Killing of Two Lovers is just that. It pulls viewers to the edge of their seats and never relents, and never stops prodding at the emotions of everyone watching. With simplicity and vigor, Machoian develops a unique film full of life and mystery, and for that, he should be proud.
"…pulls viewers to the edge of their seats and never relents..."