Despite its minimalist title, Yugoslav expat Vladan Nikolic’s second feature boasts a complex and, at times, convoluted nonlinear narrative, set in the seedy underworld of outer-borough New York City. Vanya (Trifunovic), a guilt-ridden, Bosnian-born hit man, runs into his German ex-wife, Anna (Lechner), while on his very last job and takes her hostage. Her American fianc, Dirk (Gevisser), happens to be a cop, and he methodically tracks the couple down. All the while a metropolis full of aliens (legal and illegal), criminals and civilians surges in the murky background.
The plot hinges on a series of convenient coincidences, but writer-director Nikolic isn’t concerned with realism. He’s working in a hyperstylized form, complete with multiple-point-of-view retellings of scenes, a noirish narration revealing each character’s back story, washed-out colors and skewed camera angles, and a tense, John Woo--inspired standoff in a church. Comparisons to Pulp Fiction are inevitable, yet Love wisely eschews wanna-be trendy trappings (except for one extraneous drag queen); it’s also much bleaker than Tarantino’s film. Although the turbulent world these immigrants inhabit is tamer than their violent, war-torn pasts, America disappoints as a land of dreams. But it’s all they’ve got—so they make the best of what their adopted nation has to offer in terms of life, love and even death. (Opens Thu; Pioneer.)—Raven Snook