> Love Lies Bleeding Review - SNACK: Music, film, arts and culture magazine for Scotland

Love Lies Bleeding Review

Julia Ducournau‘s Titane impressed a couple of years ago, with its Cronenbergian body horror and mix of genres reflected through the female gaze. Another director with undoubted talent, and making films in the same vein, is Rose Glass. Her horror film Saint Maud garnered much acclaim a few years ago, and now she’s back with Love Lies Bleeding. An anxiety-inducing, blood-pumping wild ride of a movie, the skill Glass displays when weaving styles, genres and substance through its romantic heart is quite something.

In early 90s New Mexico, Louise (Kristen Stewart, getting better with each performance) works in a gym, the bored look in her eye masking a dark past. When Jackie (Katy O’Brian) begins attending said gym, the two passionately fall in love. Louise’s sister Beth is hospitalised by her abusive boyfriend and Jackie pays him a visit, a decision which will make their lives spiral out of control…

Glass perfectly captures the look and feel of the late 80s/early 90s, and its reflection in films such as Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Faces and bodies bathed in red neon light, sudden edge-of-yourseat violence, and formica-tabled suburban homes are the order of the day. huge skill to immerse the viewer in these familiar aspects, while spinning a tale that twists and turns through murder, drug addiction and all-consuming love.

Be warned: if you’re one who doesn’t like your visual media to provoke anxiety, this isn’t the film for you. Glass convincingly builds the narrative to be relatively calm at the movie’s beginning, then amps up as the proverbial hits the fan. While this approach has been done many times before, recently in works such as Uncut Gems, you have to laugh at the audacity, energy, and style with which the film is delivered. You want to look away from the screen, but can’t: such are the visceral, brilliant qualities of the visuals and performances. Stewart is the standout, conveying the mess of emotions at play in her character brilliantly. O’Brian matches her at every turn, as Jackie’s violent streak and steroid addiction lead her to psychosis.

Like Titane, Love Lies Bleeding becomes increasingly surreal, culminating in an ending that needs to be seen to be believed. Combined with realistic drama, violence, and magnetic visual style, the movie delivers. These aspects are becoming hallmarks of a new filmic approach by some directors. Long may it continue.

Love Lies Bleeding opens in cinemas on the 3rd of May 

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