Thursday, March 21, 2024


British writer-director Rose Glass (ST MAUD) returns to our screen with a Tarantino-esque GRINDHOUSE movie where romance and violence sit together in a film in which earnest emotions, comic-book stylings and laugh-out-loud absurdism sit uneasily together. For me, the film was less than the sum of its parts, but there's no doubt that the BFI Flare crowd loved it, laughing uproariously throughout. My question is whether they were laughing at, or with, a film that seemed to waste Kristen Stewart's earnest performance.

Stewart stars as Lou - a gay woman who works at a gym in a dusty desert border town seemingly run by her gun-running badass father (Ed Harris in comedy hair extensions). Lou only sticks around to protect her sister (Jena Malone) from her abusive husband. This doesn't sit well with Lou's new lover Jackie (Katy O'Brian), who dreams of winning a body building championship in Vegas and driving to the coast with Lou for a new life. 

What could've been a deeply felt emotionally intense relationship drama becomes a nasty little crime movie when Jackie goes Hulk-Smash on Lou's scumbag brother-in-law and we discover Lou's talent for cleaning up murders. I love a grungy scuzzy crime caper, but what made this a bit frustrating is that I was being asked to take the central relationship with Hulk seriously. It felt like every tonal shift was pinging me about and what was so bad it's good finally just became it's bad.

LOVE LIES BLEEDING has a running time of 104 minutes and is rated R. It played Berlin, Sundance and BFI Flare 2024 and is currently on release in the USA. It opens in the UK on April 19th.

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