Review: "Love Lies Bleeding"

By: Heather Seebach

"Don't fall in love, okay?"

Love is pain; but as any gym rat could tell you - "no pain, no gain." Such is the theme of Rose Glass' sophomore feature film, Love Lies Bleeding. This wild, steroid-fueled erotic thriller is equal parts eccentric, romantic, funny, and violent.

In a small New Mexico town, Lou (Kristen Stewart) is just trying to keep her head low and away from her psychopath father (Ed Harris). Things get complicated when she falls in love with Jackie (Katy O'Brian), an ambitious bodybuilder on her way to Las Vegas to follow a dream. Their romance soon leads down a path of violence as the two women become entangled with drugs, murder, and Lou's dangerous family. 

Stewart and O'Brian are stellar as the young lovers-turned-criminals. Ed Harris is peak slime-ball as Lou's creepy, bug-collecting, gun-toting crime-lord father. The entire atmosphere of the film is great. Ben Fordesman's cinematography combined with Clint Mansell's score create a creeping, dream-like feel that is just as beautiful as it is terrifying. The film does not shy away from intimate moments nor shockingly violent ones, and a dark sense of humor ties is all together. 

Anyone expecting a straight-forward queer arthouse drama might be in for a surprise as this one forays into wonderfully weird territory. It's more like a neo-noir revenge romance with a splash of body horror. One could call it Thelma and Louise meets Pumping Iron by way of Nicolas Winding Refn but that would only cheapen its uniqueness. Director Ross Glass (Saint Maud) is definitely an up-and-coming talent to watch.
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