MOVIE REVIEW: We muscle into neo-noir territory with crime-thriller 'Love Lies Bleeding'

I loved Rose Glass’ directorial debut, religious horror Saint Maud.

For her sophomore effort, the Londoner heads into different territory with this neo-noir love story wrapped in a crime-thriller.

Set in 1989, Kristen Stewart plays gym manager Lou who falls for Katy O’Brian’s Jackie , a bodybuilder who is passing through town en route to a competition in Las Vegas.

The pair develop a relationship that is immediately threatened by the dangerous presence of Lou’s estranged father, Lou Sr. (Ed Harris).

Stewart and O’Brian are strong presences in different ways and you can’t help but root for them to ride off into the sunset together.

O’Brian’s body is a character - and weapon - in itself, with Glass homing in on it with multiple close-ups of glistening sweat, bulging muscles and the journey steroids take through her veins.

Harris, sporting one of the worst hairstyles ever committed to film, is often bathed in neon-red lighting which suits his chilling presence - reminiscent of his turn in A History of Violence - down to the ground.

Dave Franco’s JJ is scumbag personified and Anna Baryshnikov’s Daisy defies her initial mawkish personality by becoming a manipulative trickster, but Jena Malone ( Beth ) is no more than a punching bag to influence other characters’ decisions.

Glass doesn’t totally shy away from the genre that made her famous. There’s a moment of slimy body horror worthy of David Cronenberg and the brutal aftermath of violence often fills the screen.

Distorted sounds and images are equally otherworldly and unsettling, supported by Clint Mansell’s throbbing and varied score.

The bizarre, fantasy-esque finale will divide opinion but leads into a nonchalant devious act that gives the movie the indelible image it deserves, in keeping with Glass’ grimy, sweaty, surprising flick which proves she can crack all sorts of cinema.

Do you have any favourite multi-talented directors who have proven themselves to be a dab hand at different genres?

Pop me an email at and I will pass on your comments – and any movie or TV show recommendations you have – to your fellow readers.

Love Lies Bleeding is showing in cinemas now.

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