In Brian Poyser's hilarious, unexpectedly suspenseful love-triangle indie Lovers of Hate, a loser, would-be novelist (Chris Doubek) loses his wife (Heather Kafka) and accidentally finds her shacked up on a wintry mountaintop with his younger brother (Alex Karpovsky), a successful novelist who may very well have built his career on ideas borrowed from his brother. A cat-and-mouse chase in and around the house ensues, evolving into an incisive farce on the madness inspired by envy and lust. A bare-bones talkfest driven by three actors and mainly contained within a single location, Lovers of Hate puts the sparse means of production and naturalistic feel of mumblecore to the service of a genre film — physical comedy with the gilding of a near-thriller. This quietly radical stylistic hybrid is fueled by the Swiss-watch comic timing of dueling leads Doubek (his nearly wordless performance in the film's second half is silent-horror perfection) and Karpovsky (a filmmaker in his own right, he's becoming the Austin indie scene's most ubiquitous and reliable comic leading man), and grounded by the bravery and emotional precision of actress Kafka. After premiering in January at Sundance and essentially going straight to video-on-demand, Lovers finally has its L.A. premiere Saturday at Cinefamily. Catch it while you can — it's among the most unjustly underseen American indies of the year.
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(Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre, Sat., Sept. 18, 7 p.m.)