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Review: 'Broken Vows' is a stalker's dream come true

Posted Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at 4:44 PM Central
Last updated Wednesday, October 12, 2016 at 8:04 AM Central

by John Couture

If I were to mention Haddaway, what would you conjure up in your mind? Most of you would probably draw a blank, but some of you would immediately think of Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan bobbing their heads in A Night At The Roxbury.

Now you can place that loveable earworm. The song "What is Love?" was a surprise hit in 1993 and continues to pulse in night clubs around the world to this day, but Haddaway's primary question remains: What is love?

Perhaps no other thing has been the inspiration for art in all of its forms, but if you were to ask 100 people to define love, you would most likely get 100 different definitions. One aspect of love that gets the film treatment quite frequently is unrequited, jealous love. Most often, the story revolves around a love triangle where one woman feels scorned when the object of her affection chooses another woman. Think Fatal Attraction, Swimfan, The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, Singel White Female.

But sometimes, the "love" triangle involves a jilted man such as The Gift or Derailed. Broken Vows is a film that falls heavily into this latter category, but it's heavily influenced by the former films. Current Hollywood bombshell Jaimie Alexander stars as a woman who has a one-night stand with a bartender while celebrating her bachelorette party and he refuses to accept her denials of love or any interest in him at all.

Wes Bentley plays the jilted bartender and it's great to see him approach the level of acting brilliance that catapulted him onto the scene way back in 1999 with American Beauty. For the longest time, Wes was notoriously picky with the roles that he selected and after a dozen years or so, audiences tend to see that more as a problem rather than an actor being aloof.

That's not to say that Wes Bentley hasn't turned in great performances over the years. I loved him in Interstellar and The Hunger Games, but it would be a fun exercise to go back and consider him in all of the roles that he turned down over the years. Audiences like a dark and brooding bad boy and Wes is perfect in capturing that without going over the edge.

In Broken Vows, he is able to toe that line between neurotic and sociopath and yet, in many ways, the audience can feel a bit of empathetic bond with his character. But the film is first and foremost a stylish thriller with a generous helping steaminess that could give Fifty Shades of Grey a run for its money.

The on-screen chemistry and eventual terror between Wes and Jaimie is palpable and goes a long way in selling the plot that is, quite frankly, a bit played out. And yet, they are able to elevate the film past those limitations and create something that feels unique.

Jaimie Alexander has a double-headed career as Sif in the Thor movies and as Jane Doe in the hit TV series Blindspot, so her star has never been brighter. I would say that this fact is the main reason that this film is seeing the light of day right now with her face front and center on the artwork.

The filmmakers don't try to reinvent the wheel here and the result is an enjoyable sexy thriller that truly showcases two young actors at the top of their game. Perhaps in the future we will get to see these two build off of this chemistry in other projects.