There is something so exciting found within just the opening moments of Rose Glass’ sophomore effort, “Love Lies Bleeding.” An exterior long-take that subtly brings the audience into a world contemporary to our own, this film creates the feeling that we are strapped into the experience. While recent blockbuster films, “Dune: Part II” and “Oppenheimer”, are all about giant vistas and immersive worlds, Glass pulls in her audience to this gross environment filled with spaces of chiseled beings aiming for perfection, finding solace in a place of hormones and pumping blood. A common thread sprinkled throughout the crime tale. The film stars Kristen Stewart, Katy O’Brian, Dave Franco, Jena Mallone and Ed Harris telling the classic “Thelma and Louise ” revenge plot. Following a gym employee and future bodybuilder murdering a man in cold blood, the audience watches as they do anything in their power to free their name. However, Glass creates a much more intimate story right from the jump, making the whole story feel neatly confined and, at times, even more entertaining as the film proceeds. 

What Glass does when helming “Love Lies Bleeding ” is just a classic, small revenge thriller that continuously excites and aims to please with its incredibly attractive and lusciously musty cinematography. Such as moments where the audience nearly feels the drip of every sweat run down the characters’ faces, but even Glass elevates this by placing the film’s thesis of the body at its core horror roots. What are the body’s limitations? If we damage our bodies, how else are we affected? This is shown through the film’s various montages of veins popping and bodies bursting. All this under a pressure cooking pace that strikes with fury within its violence, it’s like a cavalcade, a time and true moment for the film that feels “off to the races” and never lets up. I think that what makes “Love Lies Bleeding” incredibly mighty as a film is that even within its build-up nearly boiling like a tea kettle, the main focus is on intimate love as its definition is still slowly being unraveled. Something most modern arthouse filmmakers seemingly forget, maintaining consistency within its framing of these two women in love in a hopeless environment, with every decision feeling dumber than the last. 

Forgetting to mention the startling sound design is a disservice to the sequences of violence in this film, focusing on every crack of a muscle, or whip of a weapon. It’s so fierce with itself. It feels nearly like a traditional action film in that sense, but director Rose Glass and composer Clint Mansell whose score keeps the film a fine line between an apocalyptic anxiety-inducing romance to a stead-fast romance gone wrong, it’s a nice tonal balance, one that only becomes more fun and interesting as the film progresses.

Glass’ film is mean, lean and to the point, a film that takes the viewer on such a whirlwind adventure that I feel most films, especially within the studio spaces are lacking. However in “Love Lies Bleeding”, Glass’ intimate and chaotic journey stretches our characters’ grit and determination, seeing not only the rise and fall of the relationship between Stewart and O’Brian’s characters as desperate lovers but as people making death-defying choices amid chaos, something that Glass tackles rather maturely. It keeps the audience on their toes. The unexpected nature should be the main selling point regarding “Love Lies Bleeding”. 

In a film age where everyone is trying to be bigger and better with each passing project, Glass not only excels, but understands her limits as a filmmaker, making something, sure, grander in size than her previous horror debut, “Saint Maud”, but it’s more contemporary. Taking inspiration from a more ravenous Tony Scott film, but instead of bleeding colors coming from its vistas, it’s the blood, sweat and tears coming down our characters’ bodies.

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