Shot during the pandemic in lustrous black and white by cinematographer Marcell Rev, Malcolm & Marie is an emotionally charged two-hander about a film-maker (John David Washington) and his actress girlfriend (Zendaya) returning home after the premiere of his directorial debut.
Writer-director Sam Levinson’s film is energised by finely calibrated performances and a dialogue-heavy script, which reads like a gushing valentine to Hollywood.
The ebb and flow of the navel-gazing feels natural, with predictable lulls between outpourings of guilt and indignation that are met with denial and tremulous tears.
Washington and Zendaya, reunited with Levinson after their Emmy Award-winning work on TV series Euphoria, careen from lust-fuelled flirtation to bile-slathered fury with aplomb.
They invest fully in conceited, self-absorbed characters, who spout volumes but say very little of substance.
Rating: Four stars