Star Cast: Ben Affleck, Ana de Armas, Jacob Elordi, and ensemble
Director: Adrian Lyne
What’s Good: Ben Affleck is the mystery he is supposed to be while Ana de Armas serving the heat to the pressure cooker on the rim of blowing up.
What’s Bad: the unclear purpose that isn’t well translated. Why? Stays constant without really getting answers. Also the constant reminder of the male gaze we stopped talking about like at least five years ago.
Loo Break: Pause and take.
Watch or Not?: This is a dicey ground. There are reasons you might give this one less priority immediately but also you shouldn’t ignore it completely. Sooner or later give it a chance with its flaws and problems. Talk about it, maybe that is how you make way for better ones in the future.
Language: English (the screeners didn’t have subtitles).
Available On: Amazon Prime Video
Runtime: 115 Minutes
A couple Melinda (Ana) & Vic (Ben) stuck in a strange/bizarre/mind-numbing trajectory are living their lives in a ‘not so normal’ arrangement. The wife is in an open relationship with the husband, who is kind of not happy with his partner’s choice of lifestyle. One by one the boyfriends start disappearing and begin the exploration of the dept.
Deep Water Movie Review: Script Analysis
The fact that Adrian Lyne is adapting an erotic novel starring Ana de (I can intimidate you just with a look) Armas and Ben (I am the guy you all drool on) Affleck, it shouldn’t be difficult to guess what you will get. The filmmaker and his inconsistent male gaze at women with fantasies and grey tendencies are known to all. To put it in a nutshell, 20 years from his last movie, it stays the same. Numerous debates and infinite panel discussions later, we stay where we were.
So that is not even a point worth emphasising. What is worth emphasising is the art of writers Zach Helm and Sam Levinson (Euphoria) who create two people far away from reality so intriguing that 20 minutes into the film and you know these people who have the bare minimum chances of existing in the real world. This indeed is a small victory in a screenplay that becomes a mess soon enough.
Adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s novel, Deep Water is about a not at all normal couple who are in an arrangement where the wife has stories of being an infidel and the husband has no right to oppose her exploring her kinks till a certain point. Because as per her it’s her world and the husband is just a hero while she keeps on meeting numerous cameos. What helps the film to be the crux and to the point (whatever that point must be) is the way the filmmaker and the team approach the opening.
There is no ‘oh look, once upon a time there was a fairy-tale couple with two children and a dog’ opening. Instead, we meet these people right in between a situation that has tension peaking up leading to the revelation. If you go in without watching any promotional material (like me), it will be difficult for you to even guess that they are man and wife in the first 5-10 minutes.
The setting up of their characters, the unsettling mysteries around them and the tension created due to the presence of men in Melinda’s life takes the first good 30-45 minutes and they are the best part of the movie. Post that it only goes downhill. That brings me to the purpose. Through out the 115 minutes I asked ‘Why?’ to the film almost 5 times but never got the answer. The purpose to make this story was highly missing or not translated well.
Of course I get it that anger and jealousy are the driving forces for what the protagonist decides to do. But while he isn’t opposing his wife for half of the film, ‘I am not a normal man’ being the reason, why the sudden change in heart? Why the snails? What’s the metaphor or use? Why are there no cameras on the streets where so many influential people are walking on the road and even being kidnapped in a way? Yeah, Vic has made some chip used in warfare drones earning a hefty fortune for him, enough to take retirement.
Why is he given such a complex job? No idea. He could easily be a man who has inherited money from his rich father, and it would make not even an inch of difference to the film.
Deep Water Movie Review: Star Performance
Ben Affleck knows how to use his intense demeanour to intimidate and impress people all at once. The actor goes from helpless, to vulnerable, to one filled with Vengeance (pun intended) pretty soon and you can see him transform.
Ana De Armas is an actor that deserves to be on the big screen more often. The actor portrays the arrogance of the character so convincingly and the belief in wrong decisions so confidently that you get on board with her. The real problem is how Adrian shoots Ana as Melinda.
She only wears seductive black dresses, and refuses to completely put them on, some strap is always on the verge of exposing something. Her idea of having a seat is a process where she looks like the embodiment of all the erotica in the world. Everytime she is dancing, she has to rub her b*m in some man’s crotch as if no one will ever say no to her. Consent is not even a discussion here. Maybe that is how the writer and director envision Melinda. But never do we get to see way past that. She cannot just be a h*rny woman stuck in a cold marriage, there has to be some more facets to her.
Deep Water Movie Review: Direction, Music
Adrian Lyne and his obsession with erotica isn’t new. The filmmaker has made most of his filmography about it. But this time he fails to balance things visually. The erotica of it all ends very early on and you are just left with the thriller. The genres don’t go hand in hand, rather have their own time under the spotlight. Not the right way to do it.
Lyne has an eye to shoot intimate scenes. Coming to life after 2 decades, he makes sure to prove the point that no matter how much ‘responsible’ humans you have become, you still want this, his idea of s*x being pleasurable and destructive at the same time. He still shoots intimacy with handheld cameras making it look like you are witnessing all of that sitting on the same bed or car or sneaking in some wardrobe.
Music doesn’t do much work here. It exists and doesn’t add up to the complete experience.
Deep Water Movie Review: The Last Word
There are flaws and unanswered questions. You might just not like it, or appreciate a few parts of it. If Adrian Lyne from the 90s is your poison, this is him coming back after 2 decades with no change in his perspective.
Deep Water Trailer
Deep Water releases on 16th March, 2022.
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Fan of thrillers? Read our Scream Movie Review here!