Shot and set in Kanosh, Utah, just over two hours from Salt Lake, writer/director Robert Machoian’s The Killing of Two Lovers draws you in with its almost unyielding tension. 

And that tension starts with the opening scene. Long shots, coupled by jarring sound effects, some that tie in with that shocking start, keep it going throughout the film.

The story follows David (Clayne Crawford), who recently separated from his wife and fears losing his family. David lives with his father and makes feeble attempts to mask his feelings as his wife starts “discretely” seeing another man. David’s stress takes more dips and climbs than a Six Flags coaster, only being reeled in by his three sons (Machoian’s actual children) and teen daughter, who is taking the separation almost as hard as him. But as the movie goes on, we begin to worry what David’s jealousy and rage may lead to.

The small town makes a perfect setting, as it seems everyone knows everyone and the situation between David and his wife Nikki. Kanosh’s surrounding snow-capped hills give a sense that there is little escape for David and the anxiety he experiences. There are a few breaks from The Killing of Two Lovers’ drama though, including a scene where David knocks on his sons’ window late at night just to tell them his latest dad jokes. 

Overall, it’s difficult to find flaws in The Killing of Two Lovers, a Sundance NEXT section drama . . . aside from that uneasy feeling you’ll get while watching it.

Read more of our Sundance reviews.