Written and directed by Boa Yakin, Death In Love attempts to show three lives that are all destroyed through one horrific event. Starring Josh Lucas, Jacqueline Bisset and Lukas Haas, the story immediately combusts at the very beginning of the film, leaping into a series of one graphic sex scene after another. This films is supposed to be about family and how past actions can lead to horrible consequences; although I got lost in all the sex and too many story-lines. At times it felt more like a soft porno than a film and it made me wonder, “what the hell am I watching?”
Here’s the good, the bad, and the plot…
The opening scene (perhaps the only noteworthy moment in the entire film); starts off in a dark narrow corridor with a young Jewish woman walking away from us. To her left and right, are children crying, casualties and yells of agonizing pain. Before she knocks the door, a German male’s voice tells her to come in. After that, it’s all downhill. What follows is the story about that same young Jewish girl — except she is much older now. She is unhappily married with two sons, both in their early thirties. We follow the life of the oldest son (Lucas), a sharp and “charming” con-artist working in an exploitive modeling agency. After a rough argument with their mother, Lucas decides to help his younger brother (Haas), an awkward pianist with some type of eating disorder, and venture outside their parent’s house and live in an apartment alone. Things get more complicated when Lucas is somehow outsmarted by a younger new business partner (Adam Brody). So we have problems right from the beginning and, well, they never end even after the credits are down.
- Adam Brody: Brody steals the spotlight with his co-starring role as the “new” business partner. His presence on screen is charming and natural. If you’re a hue Brody fan and must see this movie, I propose you forward only to the scenes with him in it.
- The flashbacks: The film flashes back several times into the Mother’s past and through those scenes you are able to understand the Mother’s current attitude and horrible tantrums. Often flashbacks get confusing, but these were well arranged and helpful to the story.
- The sex scenes: The problem with the sex scenes wasn’t that there were too many, but that there was no art in them. It was all just — bang bang bang. Done. Perhaps Yakin was trying to show us that sex is just sex, but some of these characters were supposed to be in love and there was no intimacy between them which made the film look more like porn than art.
- The nudity: I’ll admit that at times the nudity did feel natural– most of the time, it felt forced and unnecessary, and it simply distracted from the purpose. At times there would be very intense arguments in which one or both of the characters were naked and it was it made is distracting and hard to pay attention to what they were fighting about.
- Too Many Stories: This films could be cut into three. The film tried to tell the story of the Mother during the holocaust along with her current situation, the story of Lucas’ struggle with his crazy mother, his job, his sex life, and his relationship with Brody, as well as the solitary life of the younger Brother (Haas). Yankin should have focused on one, so that it felt like one complete thought instead of just throwing a whole bunch of powerful stories at us.
- The ending: All I have to say it, “That was so odd!”
Where did the guy from Remember the Titans go? Death In Love tries, but it fails. It is one of the hardest most uncomfortable films to watch. The sex scenes are gruesome, and the only thing that stands out is Brody, but maybe it’s just because I miss seeing him in the big screen. Don’t go watch this film, don’t even rent it unless you have to watch it for some sex-ed class.
Death In Love hits selected theaters Friday July 17th.