Saturday, May 27, 2023

A Killer Romance: Movie Review

An unusual tone with a trashy story creates a somewhat compelling movie.
A Killer Romance is an insane movie and walks this weird line between exactly what you’re expecting and not at all what you’re expecting. It’s filled with a dozen movie tropes seen in a hundred films, but combines them in weird ways with conflicting tones to create a movie that feels original even though it really isn’t. Which I suspect was the filmmaker’s aim and they succeeded.   2023

Directed by: Tony Glazer

Screenplay by: Tony Glazer

Starring: John Clarence Stewart, Marija Juliette Abney, and Christian Campbell

Rafer (John Clarence Stewart) and Suzie (Marija Juliette Abney) are newlyweds. Two people who built a relationship on being good looking and never having a conversation, and never asking a question and never answering a question. If the film didn’t insist that they were married, one would question how they even knew each other. They live in this really large, really nice house, and he’s supposedly an insurance agent and she’s supposedly a therapist. The obvious truth is that both of them just accept that reality because questioning it might force them to reveal what they really do.

Rafer is really a hit-man – I mean, of course he is, can you name an action-romance movie that doesn’t feature a hit-man? But he’s a hit-man who is really insecure in his relationship. Constantly questioning if she’s cheating on him and what secrets she’s hiding from him. How in the first 10 minutes did these characters already forget that you don’t ask questions you don’t want answers to? They’re weird for sure, but these characters are also completely movie characters that do not exist in real life.

But this is where the tone gets interesting. John Clarence Stewart and his hit-man partner Christian Campbell have the perfect ability to be funny while coming across as if they’re being perfectly serious. The movie’s a comedy and yet everything else – the score, the atmosphere, the story – suggests the movie is taking itself seriously. But it’s not. Most comedies want to be more obvious that they’re comedies, and also most hit-man romances are trashy without being in on the joke, but not this one. It’s not an easy tone to nail but the casting and dialogue absolutely do it.

Meanwhile, Suzie’s secret is also something you have seen before in a dozen of these movies, but it also gets revealed so early that it’s not a predictable let-down. It is a little jarring and makes the characters even weirder. Suzie is somehow mad at Rafer when she learns his secret, and yet he’s the only one that makes money to afford their upscale lifestyle.

I’m not usually a fan of these types of stories and these two characters just have weird reactions, but the unusual, and very funny, tone that A Killer Romance creates is enough to keep watching.