Pink Wall ★★★

The tragedy of Tom Cullen’s “Pink Wall” — a familiar but deeply felt achronological relationship drama in the vein of “Blue Valentine” and François Ozon’s “5 x 2” — is that neither of its central characters know they’re in a movie. The soft lighting, shifting aspect-ratios, and synth-driven music should have been a dead giveaway, but it’s easy to develop a kind of tunnel-vision when you’re in love. If only Jenna (Tatiana Maslany) or Leon (Jay Duplass) had been able to step back from themselves for a moment and see the big picture, perhaps they would have been able to avoid a lot of heartache in the long run.

Cullen, so memorable as an actor in Andrew Haigh’s “Weekend,” has crafted a directorial debut as spread out as that film was compressed. Knocking its timeline sideways for a diorama-like, Tralfamadorian look at the ups and downs of an obviously doomed love story, “Pink Wall” offers a clinical post-mortem for a partnership that was never going to work out. It’s a fractured saga about how intimacy can interfere with perspective; how a desire for closeness can blind people to their broader needs. Even its title, which refers to an irrelevant detail in an otherwise devastating conversation, points toward a painfully universal inclination to get hung up on the little things that keep us from being happy. If Cullen’s film is spread too thin to do anything more than indicate at these truths, it nevertheless identifies them with an unvarnished honesty that’s rare to see on screen.

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