Film

‘Love’

by

A multi-perspectival film vastly superior to Crash, Vladan Nikolic’s dynamic thriller Love reinvigorates a stale cinematic format and imparts a compelling message all without a single head-on collision. This story of a hitman, his ex-lover, and her current boyfriend trapped within a large and increasingly sticky web of intrigue could be told from any number of viewpoints: Nikolic has the guts to try to tell them all and the skill to use the technique as more than a stylistic crutch. Skeptical of rudimentary good/evil dichotomies—though, amusingly, the key American character in the international cast is not— Love uses an interlocking structure to illustrate its point. Opinions of characters are open to constant revision as assassins are revealed as soldiers and murderers become caretakers. Through the first two-thirds, the crosscutting aims to give viewers a truth larger than that available to the characters, but the finale boldly turns the tables: During a riff on John Woo–styled face-offs, Nikolic cycles through his characters’ perspectives, withholding key information to prolong the suspense. At moments like those, Love gives you hope for the future of independent movies, particularly because Nikolic is also a professor of film at the New School.