Filmmaker Adrian Lyne is back, about 20 years since his last horror film, “Unfaithful” (2002), and the provocateur is back and in his element.
While it’s premiering on Hulu, Lyne’s “Deep Water” really makes for a great dating movie, the kind of genre you argue about and pick out after it’s over.
Ben Affleck plays Vic Van Allen, a wealthy father whose marriage to Melinda (Ana de Armas) is extremely troubled. While she often runs away and has affairs, he stalks her and sulks in gratuitous jealousy.
He also has an odd habit of inviting her lover over to dinner, where he has a chance to shoo them away. Another unsettling quality for Vic is that he likes to openly joke that he killed one of his wife’s long-lost ex-lovers.
Is he kidding?
Based on a novel by the great Patricia Highsmith, author of “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and “Strangers on the Train”, this movie is neither of its caliber, nor on par with the movie “Deadly Charming” ” by Lyn. (1987) and “Jacob’s Ladder” (1990).
However, “Deep Water” is much better than “Unfaithful” and is actually quite similar to “Gone Girl,” which perhaps explains what drew Affleck to the document.
Another cinematic cousin is, oddly enough, Terrence Malick’s “To The Wonder” (2013), in which Affleck plays another American husband unable to connect with or even understand his European wife; that element needs to be further defined here, although Melinda’s behavior transcends cultural differences and becomes playful defiance.
The role of Vic was clearly written for a more quirky, sober actor, not a movie star known for playing both Batman and Jack Ryan. Rather than seem misunderstood, Affleck connects to the character’s tortured inner psyche, which is both moving and intense (the former is in all of his scenes with Gracie Jenkins, which is great to play). his onscreen daughter) and made me fall in love with him long after I should have.
The talented De Armas has a more complicated mission, as her character alternates between being admirably unobstructed and obnoxious. Some might accuse this of being a mistake, but Lyne, always willing to nudge the audience and force them to take sides, has it both ways.
Melinda may have an impulsive, self-destructive attitude towards her husband, but in the end, she can marry a man capable of terrible actions.
I often question who is the more objectionable spouse in “Deep Water” and find my allegiance to characters frequently shifting. Lyne was working on the sensational boilerplate documentary that, to the less privileged, would have been fodder for a Lifetime TV series.
Instead, while this movie is more audience-pleasing than insightful overall, it’s much better than movies like the recent “Girl on the Train” or “The Girl in the Window.”
As expected from the director, “Deep Water” is beautiful, deeply involved, full of great character actors who uplift the limited supporting roles and linger in our minds afterwards, leaving us wondering. with unanswered questions. As with his previous horror films, we like to question what we would do if we were in the position of either of the frontrunners.
Perhaps Lyne will never top “Deadly Attraction,” not only for the sheer magnitude of the thriller it remains, but also for how deeply it captivates audiences; it became a never-ending piece of dialogue for zeitgeists (in fact, a TV version set to airs later this year on Paramount+).
If Lyne is going back to the genre he’s impacted so much and raised the bar, at least it’s with a piece that isn’t afraid to take a chance.
It’s unfortunate that Dash Mihok’s “Ray DonovanFamous and Lil’ Rel Howery can only afford to play the “best friend” parts of the show, although these roles rarely feature a cast as edgy as this one. Playwright and character actor Tracy Letts steals all of his footage as a guest, who immediately dislikes and distrusts Vic.
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I wish the ending would have been stronger, when everything ended happily, but the movie really goes nowhere or doesn’t have an overall point to make. There are some confusing details, such as the scene where Vic takes care of hundreds of snails (arguably the most ridiculous aspect here) and some third action edits, intended to reveal a plot point. main, it is not clear who.
What the movie establishes at the beginning is also true at the end – the cyclical effect of neglecting one’s marriage will lead to its breakdown. It is not even so easy here, however, as we are forced to sympathize with the wife who is bored and suffocated by a failed marriage or the husband who loves his wife but falters in his efforts. her wild side control.
As the erotic thriller Lyne goes, the ending is still more defined than the ending of “Infidelity” or “Indecent Offer” to its core, but without leaving the impact of the unforgettable part, crazy (and famously photographed) end of “Deadly Attraction”.
Make no mistake: while audiences will be disappointed with these characters, Lyne just finds it fun toying with us.
Welcome back, sir.
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