Love Lies Bleeding

Verdict: Kristen Stewart and Katy O'Brian sizzle in this bold and unpredictable film noir

  • Kristen Stewart, Dave Franco, Jena Malone
  • May 3rd 2024
  • Rose Glass

Kristen Stewart’s gym manager Lou falls in love with a bodybuilder who passes through town on her way to a competition.

After stunning audiences with her directorial debut Saint Maud, director Rose Glass is back with a very different film – crime thriller Love Lies Bleeding.

Set in New Mexico in 1989, the story follows Stewart’s gym manager Lou as she meets and falls in love with a bodybuilder named Jackie (Katy O’Brian) as she passes through town en route to a competition in Las Vegas.

Their burgeoning relationship is rocked by Lou’s abusive brother-in-law JJ (Dave Franco) and her father Lou Sr. (Ed Harris), a criminal mastermind who basically runs the town.

You may think you know where Love Lies Bleeding is going, but you really don’t. It is a bold and unpredictable thrill ride with exciting twists and turns in the narrative. This dirty, grimy film moves along a snappy pace and maintains its grip the entire way through thanks to its unexpected plot developments, stunningly violent moments and witty script.

The screenplay, written by Glass and Weronika Tofilska, is surprisingly funny, with more laugh out loud moments than you’d think, given the synopsis. It has a very dark sense of humour, the characters have brilliant lines of dialogue and some of the antics are so ridiculous that you can help but chuckle.

Love Lies Bleeding flips the usual film noir tropes – Jackie fills the femme fatale role but she is a jacked bodybuilder physically capable of handling her own business. Lou would traditionally be a male part – the man who becomes infatuated with the new woman in town – but it works just as well as a woman.

In a lot of LGBTQ+ cinema, the characters’ sexuality or relationship is the source of the drama so this film is refreshing because the conflict comes from elsewhere, it just happens to revolve around a same-sex couple.

Stewart has played queer characters in film before but Lou is more unapologetically and explicitly gay than her previous roles. She could not be more perfect for the part. She has sizzling chemistry with actress and bodybuilder O’Brian, who makes her breakthrough with her magnetic performance.

Saint Maud established Glass as one to watch and now Love Lies Bleeding has solidified her status as an exciting filmmaker. Who knows what she’ll do next?!

In cinemas from Friday 3rd May.

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