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Jealousy is such a living hell that Claude Chabrol made arguably the definitive film on the subject and literally called it L’Enfer. This is an area of human relations with which Deep Water director Adrian Lyne is very comfortable, having previously directed Fatal Attraction, Indecent Proposal, Lolita (which I find superior to Kubrick’s version), and Unfaithful (loosely based on Chabrol's La Femme Infidèle. Coincidence?). To call this a retread is somewhat of an understatement, but Lyne is wise to have chosen familiar territory for his return from a 20-year break from directing. Deep Water is likewise a good career move for Ben Affleck; it gets him back on track after he followed the great The Way Back with The Last Duel and The Tender Bar (although Deep Water would have preceded all those films had it not been for covid-related delays; funny how things work). Here is a movie that allows him to give a subtly nuanced performance, and he doesn’t disappoint, taking passive-aggressiveness and elevating it into an art form. Affleck now joins his BFF Matt Damon as actors who have shined in roles based on characters created by Patricia Highsmith (and indeed this is how one might imagine Tom Ripley’s married life to be). Ana de Armas is also quite good as Melinda, Vic’s (Affleck) wife, a thoroughly despicable bitch on wheels whose only redeeming quality is Vic’s unconditional love for her. Oh, he loves her with almost all his heart. I say ‘almost’ because his heart may or may not be able to pump enough blood to a certain other organ – thus it is tacitly agreed that Melinda has the freedom to find solace elsewhere, usually in the arms of intellectually challenged younger men. This arrangement is no secret among the couple’s friends because Melinda is also an alcoholic with zero self-awareness. Vic dismisses the whole thing in public with a blend of dry wit, deadpan sarcasm, and self-deprecating humor (which provides some of the best dialogue in the film) that can turn ambiguously menacing at the drop of hat, especially when he finds himself alone with one of Melinda’s boytoys. In addition to Chabrol, Lyne puts me in mind of iconoclastic British filmmaker Peter Greenaway – and not just because Vic’s pet snails remind me of A Zed & Two Noughts. I generally find movies where characters literally get away with murder in one way or another to be immoral; the few exceptions to this rule include films like Greenaway's in which there is no conventional morality to speak of in the first place. In Deep Water, no major, plot-relevant character is innocent, and they all get what they deserve – even when, like Vic, they get what they want.
Ben Affleck ("Vic) is a successful man married to the gorgeous "Melinda" (Ana de Armas). Unfortunately for him, though, she wants - well, has - more of an open marriage than he might like. Indeed, she frequently all but flaunts her usually handsome and younger lovers in front of him and their friends. When one of her coterie goes missing,"Vic" tells his successor "Jonas" (Dash Mihok) that he killed him with an hammer. True or false? Soon rumours abounds, made worse when one of her other beaux "Charlie" (Jacob Elordi) is found floating in the pool! Is he the culprit? Well, to be honest I didn't care. Affleck is nowhere near his best with this preposterous nonsense. Ana de Arias has done some stinkers lately, and this is just the latest. Just taking her clothes off and swearing provocativly isn't acting. The ending is hilariously bad and all told this is just a poor effort from a declining Adrian Lyne that is as forgettable as it is terrible. An established cast is no substitute for a good story with good writing. Waste of everyone's time, this.
FULL SPOILER-FREE REVIEW @ https://www.msbreviews.com/movie-reviews/deep-water-spoiler-free-review "Deep Water sells itself as an erotic thriller, but it lacks precisely those same components. Adrian Lyne tries to make a comeback after a twenty-year absence from cinema, but Zach Helm and Sam Levinson's screenplay holds too many problems. The protagonists couldn't be more awful people in an incredibly toxic relationship that's frustrating to watch, but their lack of development and inexistent arcs make the narrative feel repetitive, predictable, and lacking intensity. The messy approach to the secondary characters and subplots contributes to an absolutely disastrous script, where not even a traditional third act can be found. In the end, Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas are actually good, so there's something to appreciate." Rating: D