Deep Water ⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali
A well-to-do husband who allows his wife to have affairs in order to avoid a divorce becomes a prime suspect in the disappearance of her lovers. Available to watch on Amazon Prime.
Adrian Lyne has not directed a film in about 20 years… And it shows.
His latest Deep Water looks and feels as if it had been made back then, and while that’s not a criticism by any means, I get the feeling that it would have been trashed in the ‘80s just as much as it has been now (it has one of the lowest scores on Rotten Tomatoes I’ve seen in 2022).
If you remember Lyne’s ‘80s and ‘90s classics like 9 ½ Weeks, Fatal Attraction, Indecent Proposal (I actually have a soft spot for Jacob’s Ladder) it will come to no surprise to see that this is being sold as a ‘erotic thriller’. The problem is, it is not thrilling at all, and even if it might appear erotic in the eyes of the 81-year-old director, to me it felt pretty dull and actually rather unsexy.
Adapted from a 1957 novel by Patricia Highsmith (writer of Strangers on a Train and my favourite The Talented Mr. Ripley, among many others) the film right from word go asks you to buy into a premise which, at least in the way it’s depicted here, looks ridiculous and actually rather unbelievable.
At the start we are presented with a married couple who have clearly hit rock bottom. Ben Affleck is Vic, a husband who seems to allow his wife Melinda (played by Ana de Armas) to have affairs in plain sight. It’s not instantly clear why he’s doing that, whether he gets somehow aroused by this, or most likely, whether he does it in order to avoid a divorce.
Around this “unusual relationship”, a mystery starts to develop involving the previous men she had been having her affairs with, as they somehow disappear and even die.
The funny thing I realise, now that I am writing this, is that actually all the elements are there to make something tense, creepy and intriguing, and yet in Lyne’s hands it all seems to fall apart. The first half of the film stretches anyone’s patience beyond what’s imaginable: nothing makes sense and there’s absolutely no tension, sexual or of any other kind, which is surprising given that the two main stars were actually dating in real life.
The result is virtually Zero Chemistry and a series of shoddily and randomly edited together sequences which never add up to much.
About half-way through the film (if you’re still with it, that is), the culprit is finally revealed (much later than in the book in fact) and the film becomes a little bit more entertaining (hence my two stars and not one).
It’s all still nonsense of course, not helped by a confused script full of half-baked ideas, most of which make you roll your eyes more than anything and a final “twist” which had me laughing out loud… Alas laughing at it, not with it.
Somehow Ben Affleck, who looks like he stepped right out of Gone Girl to walk into this (he is the same character!), makes all of this rubbish just about watchable and it’s thanks to him that I was able to get to the end. The final “surprise chase sequence” managed to shake me from a state of complete numbed boredom, only to roll my eyes again for the idiotic ending, which is actually in keeping with the rest of the film.
I’m sure there’s a joke to be made about how shallow Deep Water is, but I’m so deflated by the whole experience that I’ve even lost my sense of humour.
On Amazon Prime… if you really have to.
Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.
See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali
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