Deep Water has deeper troubles than most could have expected
Adrian Lyne’s adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel ‘Deep Water’ has nothing working in its favor. The adaptation is neither suspenseful nor dramatic, but opts for a slower burn pacing for its storytelling and falls flat without any major impact in its entire run time. ‘Deep Water’ is the story of a toxic- yet open – and very deadly marriage between retired tech entrepreneur Vic (Ben Affleck) and his wife Melinda (Ana De Armas). Melinda finds her pleasure in finding less tech-savvy – young adults, than her husband.
Neighbors and family brand Melinda as the antagonist of the marriage, and Vic seems super acceptable of it, only on the outside. Slowly and very slowly, Melinda’s young lovers start missing and are eventually found dead, while Vic goes around joking about how he is still happy about their icy marriage and making jokes that do not stick.
Vic’s reputation as the charming retired entrepreneur and a dad figure to the doting daughter Trixie (Grace Jenkins) becomes the perfect alibi to all his criminal doings, but as expected we have a criminal novelist Don Welson (Tracy Letts) who is more interested in Vic and his activities. Don is behind Vic’s activities and after the unexpected death of Pianist Charlie (Jacob Elordi) in a pool party. His suspicions of Vic increase a whole lot after Melinda starts accusing Vic of Charlie’s death. There were several attempts in building suspense and drama between the characters, but none worked out even for a minor scene like this one.
As the viewing audience, we are given a lot of fleeting sketches about Melinda and Vic’s character arcs – but none of them bound for anything, as to why they are the way they are. Is it to reignite the long-lost passion with her husband? Is it to appeal to her boring housewife life? Is it the insecurity of not being on the same level as her househusband? What is the exact motive behind Vic’s serial killing spree? Is Melinda aware of all the activities or is she luring them all in for Vic’s amusement? So many questions are raised and are unanswered, leading to an absolutely abrupt ending.
Ana De Arma breathes a colorful light into the dull lives of the rich and elite, with her very restricted and seductive performance, which has a lot of erotic sex appeal that leads on to no particular cause. Ben Affleck’s performance would leave the audience divided, as the actor sticks to the aloofness in the very few dramatic and suspenseful sequences the film tries to offer its audience.
Adrian Lyne’s directorial comeback, two decades since his classily made, ‘Unfaithful’ is not the comeback we were all hoping for. With the screenplay by Zach Helm and Sam Levinson, the trio tries their best in adapting Patricia Highsmith’s novel but fails at it. Focusing on two deeply psychologically twisted characters would have offered and made for an interesting watch with some interesting twists and turns, but that’s not the case with ‘Deep Water’.
Amidst all the mess, we have a little relief from Lil Rel Howery’s Grant, who offers a little humor and fits the role perfectly, and delivers the work he is given. With the run time of the movie, almost clocking in at 2 hours, Andrew Mondshein and Tim Squyres’s editing work leads to a lot of distraction among the viewers and leaves them on their own to solve the missing puzzles and make sense of the ending. Marco Beltrami’s dramatic score doesn’t go well with the story narration too. Deep Water lacks a severe dramatic and thrilling conviction, but has plenty of sex appeal at its offering, that neither interests the viewers, leaving them distracted by the end.
Deep Water is currently available to stream on Hulu.
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