Death in Love (2008) Poster


User Reviews

Add a Review
9 ReviewsOrdered By: Helpfulness
Weak and indulgent film-making in all its glory
Siamois25 January 2010
What happens when the writer of some gems as "The Punisher", "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights" who also directed crap like "Uptown Girls" decides to write and direct an artsy flick?

Death In Love is the answer. This film does not pull any punch when it comes to gruesome and explicit scenes. Writer/director Boaz Yakin had to finance this film all by himself because he had specific things in mind. This would never have been approved by studios and I understand why he got no financial backing. Having a specific vision, refusing to compromise are all laudable as far as I am concerned.

It's just that, unfortunately, Yakin's vision seems terribly limited. So are his skills as a storyteller. The founding story arc revolves around a Jewish girl who begins an affair with a doctor overseeing experiments on human in a concentration camp during WWII. Yakin goes all guns blazing trying to showcase the intensity of this relationship and fails spectacularly because there is a total lack of chemistry between the actors and the script is emotionally numb right from the start. She just supposedly falls in love at first sight, with a psycho doctor who looks like an extra in an infomercial.

The second story arc (which gets the most screen time) takes place in the present and features this woman again with her husband and two adult sons. All of which seem to be mysteriously as nuts as she is for no reason whatsoever.

In between, we get flashbacks from the time her sons were children and how she'd go nuts and scare them, but it's done awkwardly, like what you'd expect in a direct to video "it happened for real" melodrama featuring Melissa Gilbert or some other has-been.

The present-day story arc features the most interesting and intriguing scenes. The youngest son (Lukas Haas) is a total waste of screen time as an obnoxious man-child who has various phobias and still live with his parent. But the eldest son (Josh Lucas) gets a lot of screen time. He's almost 40 years old, seemingly jaded about everything. Of lot of his scenes (particularly with his co-worker played by Adam Brody) feature dialogue that, while not amazing, is still better than what the rest of the movie has to offer.

There are a few themes displayed but Yakin, in the least subtle way EVER implies a strong connection between pain and sexuality. In fact, so strong that he almost implies one is synonymous with the other. This could be a powerful and interesting theme to explore in a few characters but here, it's just not done well. Every character on screen has intense desire to masturbate, and it seems nobody is able to make love without beating his partner at the same time. It's just... amateurish. The story and characters feel artificial despite all the courageous grit Yakin put in the film.

There is also a strong undercurrent of self-loathing in all the main characters. Yakin is Jewish himself and I sensed that he was extremely critical of a segment of people who shun their origins and hate what they are. And I can appreciate his attempt to highlight that. One of the most powerful scene, to me, was a small one where the Jewish girl at the concentration camp (who receives favorable treatment from the doctor, her lover) refuses to give the rest of her meal to a starving Jewish violinist. Instead, she sadistically eats every last crumb, as if she renounced her Jewish heritage and what she really is.

All in all, I think Yakin tackled powerful issues in a very confusing way. This feels like a very personal film but unfortunately, the few powerful scenes in there, the great performances by Lucas, Bisset and Haas and the grittiness can't save a weak script and a weak story.
34 out of 47 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Intense adult drama about repercussions of violence and war
bella-chase28 October 2010
This movie tells a story held secret by most people who write about the Holocaust, which is the crippling effect of the Survivors' war experiences on their children. Studies have shown that the children of Nazi Holocaust Survivors share many if not all of their parents' psychological issues, particularly depression and post-traumatic stress. This film has the rare courage and honesty to show the bleak emotional damage left by that war, not only on its direct victims but on their children as well. The portrait of the mother is particularly bitterly real -- her seemingly inexplicably outbursts and fits of violence a near-mirror of the unexplained violence she witnessed as a girl; her narcissism and coldness linked to her own abandonment as a girl. Again, a poignant and tragic reality of the psychological landscape of all survivors of war. The actors were superb, the dialogue actually worth LISTENING to. Haas and Lucas put in beautifully nuanced performances and Bisset was outstanding in arguably the best, most emotional performance of her career, and looking more beautiful than ever.

This is not an easy film. It is most definitely not a family film (there are explicit depictions of sex). It is a disturbing portrait of broken people struggling to find reasons to stay alive. It's pretty great, really.
18 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
dbborroughs2 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I'm not sure what I make of this film. Its certainly its own film in a way that few films ever are. Is it any good? Your guess is as good as mine.

The plot of the film concerns a woman who survived the concentration camps by sleeping with one of the Nazi doctors. We also follow her two sons, one who is unnaturally attached to his mother and won't leave home, and the other a man who works at a questionable modeling agency and sleeps with a good number of women. Its a very sexual and dark tale that has everyone on a downward spiral into destruction.

I'm disturbed. This is a trip into the dark side of the human psyche. Rarely have I ever seen the eroticism of death so clearly stated. There is a great deal of food for thought here, but I'm not sure it adds up to much. The people here seem to be some form of extreme cases and they border on certifiable which makes taking anything away from their exploits all that more hard to take. The performances are good and I understand why everyone took their roles, but I'm still struggling to work out what they were getting at.

Worth a look if you don't mind looking at the darkness and want to see a unique vision. All others stay away
13 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Deep, dark and psychologically fascinating - a realistic portrayal of how "anything repressed comes out in toxic form."
venusianmovielover14 July 2011
Although at times I found this movie hard to watch, I think it is an excellent film about the things that human beings don't want to talk openly about,the underbelly of human life that we all experience and identify with in one way or another. This movie portrays these types of things with a good story, a good script and fine acting.

The filmmaker should be commended for his conviction to tell a story that was obviously important to him, by investing his own money to make this film. I see why that was required because society in general does it's best to push down out of sight, the very things that need to have the light shown in on. In my opinion film and theater are the best way to do it, and this movie does it authentically.

I agree with some of the other reviewers that this film's subject matter is very important for all of us as human beings to understand and not be afraid of, so that we may have compassion for others who may be "acting out" some neurotic compulsion that they have "inherited" or been left with from experiencing trauma, as well as compassion for our self. Human beings "act out", it is just a part of the human condition and being alive.

If you like intensity and a view into deep emotional scenarios this film is for you.
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A hard thing to judge
Andreas Zeller14 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of the movies which will be loved by those wannabe intellectuals, because it appears profound, alternative and provoking. It offers a lot of opportunity e.g. for a class to discuss the problems and personal backgrounds of each character and their histories, but after all it's just very average and way too pretentious.

About the plot: It starts off very good and interesting. Our protagonist talks about life in general, people, expectations and how to deal with that in life. His monologue pisses off his one-night-stand so badly that she gets dressed immediately and leaves.

The movie switches inbetween three timelines: Childhood: He and his neurotic brother grew up with a mentally deranged mother and a father who couldn't keep her from snapping. That's the first of the timelines. You'll see the mother snap, scream and shout, destroy their kids' room for some bogus reason. Scenes appear very depressing (and annoying).

Concentration Camp: The mother survived a German concentration camp by sleeping up with her angel of death, some German concentration camp doctor who apparently lets her live because she has her body to offer as a reward for that. In this time snipplet, you'll most likely see them have sex, have dinner, dance or do other couply stuff that doesn't seem very romantic, but also very depressing and pretentious. The last scene of this time period shows the mother cry over her doctor leaving, because the russians were coming. She gets a hold of herself again. But it appears that she never really got over that separation.

The here and now: Most of the movie is set in the present. The mother still snaps every once in a while and destroys inventory, her husband still doesn't have the guts to do something about it, her first son (the main character) gets conned by his new business partner and sleeps around with a lot of women while the second one has a weird eating disorder. The mother meets her concentration camp entertainment again, just for the masochistic sex, which her son likes too, by the way. The neurotic son doesn't seem to ever have had sex, so he stays at home and plays the piano.

All this may seem very depressing and annoying, and it is. The question I have been asking myself the entire movie, is 'What is the writer trying to tell us?' - And honestly, I have no idea. The movie ends very sudden, while the plot doesn't really thicken. There are just those three stories told, and of course their history: Protagonist gets stabbed by his masochistic Asian lover, although it might have been just regular sex, judging from previous scenes. Mother meets her doc again in a hotel and has sex with him. Brother breaks most of his fingers smashing the flap for the piano keys shut with his hand inside.

There are still some weird scenes showing human body parts being cut, a human brain being BBQ'd, some more of this weird stuff without any connection to the already very weird plot. I don't even know how to comment on these scenes, so I just chose to ignore them.

On the whole: Personally, that was a waste of my time. I was waiting for the movie to resolve some of the plot parts that seemed intriguing. That is by the way the only reason why I gave it 4/10 instead of just 1/10.

If you like dark and wannabe meaningful movies, go ahead and waste your time. If you want to be entertained, don't watch this movie with any of your friends, that you'd like to have a fun night with later on.
14 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Weird and Wacko
freeway-613 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
For whatever reason I stuck with this dismal excuse of a film by Boaz Yakim until the bitter orgasmic end.

Set sometime in the early nineties from what appeared to be news of the basement bombing at the World Trade Center, we meet the protagonist who for the better part of twenty minutes is either nude, with a nude, masturbating or engaging in rough sex. Considering the fact this film was rated R, you could easily describe the goings on as mildly pornographic.

Basically, the story is about a mother, Jacqueline Bisset, a Holocaust survivor thanks to her connection as a girl to a Nazi doctor into human experiments, which are shown in gory detail, her husband and two sons, Josh Lucas and Lukas Haas. The mother is still lusting for the Nazi doctor, her husband is a wimp, her forty year old son is into raunchy sex, and her youngest at thirty-five hasn't had a date since he was in high school.

The story jumps back and forth from war past to fifties past to the present. The performances are over the top, with lots of reaction close-ups from each of the major characters, many times either crying or screaming.

Mother has a number of liaisons who all turn up dead after her meetings with them courtesy of her doctor friend. Near the end of the film, she leaves her husband alone in their apartment prior to her climatic meeting with her Nazi crush. She deliberately leaves the apartment door ajar and we see the evil doc enter the building. Later her youngest shows up with his smashed hand and no one is at home. We never find out what happened to her husband, but suffice it to say, she probably will be attending another funeral prior to living happily ever after with you know who.

Death in Love is one very strangely weird film.
6 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Mrs Glass wants smore ...
pjjcm30 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This is like some crazed version of the Salinger family of cognoscenti in Franny and Zooey; all members destroyed and genius blighted by the neurotic legacy of the mother's will to survive the KZ experience in 1945. Bisset plays the mother who suffered the Sophie's Choice of seducing her executioner-doctor with sado-masochistic sexual rompings in order to survive and make a family in New york with two sons both of whom are dripping with potential but who have had their genius crushed by her wild and uncontained rages. The provider father is a shadow of a man who cannot control his wife's mental devolution nor his sons' actual contempt for him.

With stilted monologues and dialogues their raisons d'etre paint them as hollow people pretending to cope with a meaningless set of unhappy lives.

The one shocking curiosity is that the end of the film houses a prolonged scream of orgasmic satisfaction which stems from the aged mother now visited again by her Camp doctor as she is finally set free of her morbid longings with a wholehearted indulgence in what she has missed all these years. Out of a Mephistophelian debacle comes a renaissance of the evil promise; all the evil caused by her moral turpitude is 'excused' with this one long drawn-out scream of sexual satisfaction. Worth a watch if only for the daring moral tightrope walking ...
11 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Fantastic script, good video and a philosophical plot - a movie that thinking people will enjoy
tjohnsn6112 December 2010
Don't let the first few seconds scare you away. After that, the remaining initial nine minutes of dialog in this movie grabbed my attention. As a 49 year old guy, it was like the conversation that I've been holding in my own head was exposed, thoughts that I've never admitted to another human because of my shame, somehow brought out into the public for everyone to hear. Unbelievably honest, real, certainly a glimpse into my very brain with the same rationale and conclusions that I have come to in my own life.

If you've lived enough of live, you recognize the maternal instinct of the mother for her disadvantaged son. She protects him, puts up with him and shows a patience that only a guilt laden (whether deservedly so or not) mother will demonstrate. Her description of the call of her jilted boyfriend's parent's call is also not out of the ordinary for some of us. The acting of the disabled son, the emotion, absolutely fantastic and realistic. Unbelievably realistic, like looking into someone's personal life.

The movie only gets better. Watch it if you're interested in exploring the shadows of the human condition in an honest, thought provoking manner. Bravo!
7 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Best movie I've seen this year so far
mhelen29 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
movie ends with woman in her seventies screaming while having orgasm and her son being stabbed by his Chinenese-American female boss while roll playing rape mazo fore-playing . Woman is having sex with her long forloren lover who used to be a doctor in a Nazi extermination camp and she were interned while being abandoned in Paris by her father and step mother . Flashbacks are absolutely amazing .Actors in them speak in french and German unlike in those usual pathetic flicks where bad guys speak with German accented English to make a flick more authentic. if u think its yet another holocaust survivor thingy don't .I've seen quite a few of the kind and I never seen anything like that. Woman got two sons. One working in a shady semi con "model" agency where he gets a cut from fleecing plain average looking females from their money by implying the possibility of them getting jobs as models

Other one is 'live with his parents till his forty' type .He got a good excuse though, he is seemingly talented pianist and composer unable to deal with everyday life .

The borderline conman brother gets conned by dashing new addition to agency.He looses his apartment where shortly before his brother began experimenting with living away from home .

to summarize the movie in one word its Smart .Its Smartly cut .Smartly shot .Smartly written you don't feel for one minute that something is out of place or fake . I watch like 4 to 5 movies a day and a bunch load of TV shows .I know I know sad case .So like I said my brains are conduits to pretty much huge amount of movie stuff .Not that that makes me an expert or anything but I love this movie .
15 out of 38 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews