The performances are impressive, especially Bisset as the mentally twisted Holocaust survivor, who is at once frigid and incorrigibly promiscuous. She holds her passive husband in contempt yet desperately needs him. She adores her sons but humiliates them at every turn. Given to out-of-control rages, she is also capable of great charm. Lucas is also excellent as a third-rate scammer who exploits almost everyone he encounters, short of his new colleague, to whom he is drawn, and his psychologically paralyzed brother for whom he feels genuine compassion and concern. Ashen and pasty, Haas is wholly believable as a self-destructive obsessive-compulsive. He counts each morsel of food on his plate and meticulously separates one vegetable from another; the eating rituals are revelatory and chilling. Brody does a fine job as young man whose wholesome veneer belies a dark underbelly.
Despite this flick's nihilism—it presents totally stunted human beings in a universe that offers no possibility for redemption—it is a three-dimensional work. Equally impressive, it is devoid of psychobabble and makes no sweeping observations about the children of Holocaust survivors. Death in Love is a depiction of only one blighted family. Yakin must be given credit for resisting the temptation to explain and extrapolate. He has created a film whose characters and tragic stories remain vivid long after the final credits.
Written and directed by: Boaz Yakin
Starring: Jacqueline Bisset, Josh Lucas, Lukas Haas, Vanessa Kai, Adam Brody