Ben Affleck broods and Ana de Armas flirts but this erotic thriller is not so much Deep Water as it is a tepid shallow stream
On paper some things can sound like great ideas and ‘must see’ movies. The combination of Ben Affleck’s intensity with Ana de Armas’s ‘sizzle’ seems like a perfect mix. Add legendary British director Adrian Lyne (Fatal Attraction) and how could this not be a delicious dish!? I mean he also brought us the classic erotic thriller 9 1/2 weeks so if nothing else I was expecting either some really steamy scenes or at least some sort of pet in a pot!
Deep Water is a psychological thriller based on a 1957 novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith. It stars Ben Affleck as Vic Van Allen, a young, handsome, rich businessman who has chosen to retire and dedicate his time to his beautiful wife Melinda (Ana de Armas) and their young daughter. It becomes apparent very early on that this is not a conventional marriage arrangement.
Director Adrian Lyne produced some incredibly insightful relationship-based thrillers before taking an almost 20yr break so his return to the psychological thriller genre could easily be interpreted as him having something new to say or a new angle to explore with relationships but sadly this does not appear to be the case
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The couple are in what some might describe as an open marriage but conventionally, that’s when both partners engage in extramarital activities with other people. In this case, Melinda seems to be the only person with wondering eyes and hands.
Ben Affleck seems to have been giving conflicting direction in terms of who his character is supposed to be. On the one hand, he is a doting father and committed husband being driven to the edge of frustration by his wife’s disrespectful behaviour-she only gets sexual gratification from dangerous liaisons. But a few scenes later, Ben is starring intensely into the camera or playing silently with his pet snails like a bond villain, doing his best impression of someone who just might be a psychopath. Neither of these personas quite hit the mark. Tonally the film is all over the place and its never quite clear what kind of movie Adrian Lyne is trying to make.
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Ana de Armas’s Melinda is the free spirited, adventurous sex kitten apparently trapped in a marriage that bores her. She seems unusually hostile towards her young daughter at the start of the film and her only interest is fun and seduction. The film alludes to ongoing issues between them but makes no attempt to explain why this couple can’t actually just split up and get divorced.
VIc’s friends are also made up of a strange collection of capable actors but their parts made no sense and seemed to boil down to giving words of advice. US comedian Lil Rey reminds Vic every few scenes that his wife is bad as she’s having affairs and flaunting them in front of everyone. There doesn’t even seem to be any real ‘friend chemistry’ with Vic and his group of friends
VIc and Melinda’s relationship is presented as one which is toxic but able to overcome all the obstacles they face. They are supposedly really in love with each other, but this also is unconvincing. These actors may be ‘sexy’ individually but as a couple in this story, it felt flat. I’m reminded of the theory of Joey Tribbiani (from friends) – If the couple have no heat/chemistry on screen, it probably means they are ‘doing it’ off screen. And this was true in this case as Ben and Ana started dating during production of this film back in 2020. I wonder if they broke up after seeing how disappointing the film turned out
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Deep Water lacks any thrills, tension or intrigue. Ana de Amas already demonstrated she can do sexy and lovable in “>No Time to Die,. She’s successfully added slightly unhinged to her repertoire but unfortunately at times it seemed like her and Ben Affleck were in different films. The movie had sex scenes that somehow weren’t sexy or erotic, possibly by design. There was no ‘heat’, no real tension or stakes. No one really seemed to have anything to lose. The plot has no surprises, and everything is exactly what we’re presented with at the start. There are no surprises, revelations or twists.
It’s really hard to believe this is the same director that brought us films like indecent proposal. This movie has nothing to say about marriage, relationships or even the psychology behind murder. A friend told me they couldn’t wait to watch this film because they love Ben Affleck in these types of movies, especially Gone Girl, but this is definitely not Gone girl. This is a watchable but forgettable viewing experience I’m sure both leads wish had been left behind in 2020
Deep Water will be streaming exclusively on Prime Video- Friday 18th
Official trailer here