Love Lies Bleeding Movie Review (2024)


Love Lies Bleeding Movie Review (2024)

A neo-noir masterpiece drenched in 1980s neon and pulsating with raw energy, Rose Glass's "Love Lies Bleeding" (2024) is a film that burrows under your skin and refuses to let go.  This sophomore effort from the acclaimed director of "Saint Maud" takes us on a thrilling, disturbing journey into the depths of a passionate but ultimately destructive love affair.

The story unfolds in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where Lou (Kristen Stewart), a withdrawn and enigmatic gym manager, finds herself tethered to a criminal family. Her life takes a sharp turn when Jackie (Katy O'Brian), an ambitious bodybuilder with a physique chiseled from iron and a heart burning with dreams, walks into her gym. Their connection is immediate and undeniable, a combustible mix of raw attraction and a desperate need for connection.

Lou, haunted by a past shrouded in violence, sees Jackie as a potential escape. Jackie, in turn, craves the stability Lou offers amidst the unforgiving world of competitive bodybuilding. But as their love blossoms, it becomes entangled in the dark web of Lou's family's criminal activities.

Glass paints a masterful portrait of these two flawed characters. Stewart delivers a captivating performance as Lou, her trademark stoicism masking a simmering intensity. We glimpse a woman trapped in a cycle of violence, yearning for a different life. O'Brian is a revelation as Jackie. Her portrayal is a study in raw vulnerability. Jackie's dedication to bodybuilding transcends the physical; it's a manifestation of her iron will to control her destiny.

The supporting cast adds further texture to the narrative. Ed Harris is chillingly effective as Lou's volatile father, the ruthless patriarch of the crime family. Jena Malone injects a touch of unsettling mystery as a figure from Lou's past, and Dave Franco shines as a flamboyant but dangerous gangster. Each character plays a crucial role in driving the narrative forward, creating a web of loyalty, betrayal, and the intoxicating allure of power.

Visually, "Love Lies Bleeding" is a treat. Cinematographer Ben Fordesman bathes the sun-baked New Mexican landscape in an otherworldly golden light, highlighting the stark contrast between the desolate exteriors and the grimy, sweat-soaked interiors of the gym. This visual dichotomy perfectly mirrors the characters' internal struggles – the pursuit of a brighter future trapped in a world of darkness.

The soundtrack pulsates with energy, perfectly capturing the film's 1980s setting. A blend of synth-heavy electronic music and ominous orchestral scores creates an atmosphere of constant tension, propelling the narrative forward with every beat.

Glass's direction is masterful.  She creates a world that is both glamorous and grimy, seductive and dangerous. The film's pacing is deliberate, building suspense before erupting into bursts of shocking violence.  Glass doesn't shy away from depicting the harsh realities of Lou and Jackie's world, resulting in a film as unflinching as it is captivating.

"Love Lies Bleeding" isn't for the faint of heart. It's a brutal exploration of ambition, desire, and the lengths people will go to for what they believe they deserve.  The film delves into the dark corners of the human psyche, exposing the devastating consequences of love intertwined with violence. The ending is deliberately ambiguous, leaving the audience questioning the true nature of Lou and Jackie's relationship and the price they ultimately pay for their dreams.

This 2024 release is a powerful testament to Rose Glass's burgeoning talent. "Love Lies Bleeding" is a cinematic experience that will stay with you long after the credits roll, challenging you to confront the darkness that can lurk within the human heart and the destructive power of a love that bleeds.

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