Deep Water is finally being let out of its own misery after several months of pandemic delays and going straight to Hulu.
This is one of the films that Disney acquired by way of the 20th Century Fox acquisition. Unfortunately, no amount of delays could save this film. At some point, you just have to accept the inevitable: release it on streaming and make everyone happy. Before the last release date change, Deep Water had been set for an early January 2022 theatrical release. This places the film in clear dump month territory. It’s sad given the film’s pedigree but outside of a better script, there is absolutely nothing that will save this film.
Filmmaker Adrian Lyne is certainly no stranger to the thriller department, having directed Fatal Attraction among others. He brings the Patricia Highsmith novel to the big screen with a solid cast. I mean, who would not want Ana de Armas starring in their film after crushing it in Knives Out? Unfortunately, the casting of Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas cannot save Deep Water. In the film, Vic (Ben Affleck) and Melinda Van Allen (Ana de Armas) are a picture-perfect couple. However, there are mind games going on and there is no shortage of consequences to their actions. In short, the only way that Vic and Melinda can keep their marriage working is by Melinda having lovers. The catch is that she cannot leave Vic because it would impact their 6-year-old daughter, Trixie (Grace Jenkins).
At what point will this arrangement become too much to overcome? Everyone is talking about Melinda. Even Vic’s friends, Grant (Lil Rel Howery) and Jonas (Dash Mihok), think that it is time to do something. It can be all fun and games but at some point, somebody is going to get hurt. Vic can only ignore what Melinda is doing for so long!
Vic uses Martin McRae’s disappearance to his advantage if it helps get Joel Dash (Brendan C. Miller) out of the picture. Soon, the rumor flies throughout the town. It’s enough that maybe, just maybe, people think it’s actually true. This includes new neighbor Don Wilson (Tracy Letts). It is one man after another for Melinda, including musician Charlie De Lisle (Jacob Elordi). There is no way that this is going to end well for anyone, not even the audience.
On one level, you would think that both Lyne and Highsmith would make a perfect match. When you look at their previous work, you see books or films about obsession, betrayal, and murder. All of which tackle guilt vs. innocence or good vs. evil. In paper, this is a film that should be working. The reality is that this is a film that crashes and burns in front of our eyes.
Maybe it is the cinephile in me but a film about Don Wilson would certainly be a better film. It probably would not be a thriller but then again, this film certainly doesn’t thrill so much. Who wouldn’t want to watch a film about a writer and his attempts to write and sell a script about his life? In this case, his film is a piece of noir fiction.
Deep Water is an erotic psychological thriller but the film is dead on arrival. It is not so much a stain for everyone on their resume but a blip that they’ll be putting behind for many years to come.
DIRECTOR: Adrian Lyne
SCREENWRITERS: Zach Helm and Sam Levinson
CAST: Ben Affleck, Ana de Armas, Tracy Letts, Lil Rel Howery, Dash Mihok, Finn Wittrock, Kristen Connolly, Jacob Elordi, Rachel Blanchard, Michael Braun, Jade Fernandez, Grace Jenkins, Brendan C. Miller, Devyn Tyler, Jeff Pope
20th Century will release Deep Water on March 18, 2022 on Hulu. Grade: 1/5
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