Deep Water Shimmers In Its Shallowness
Deep Water(Amazon Prime)
Starring Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas
Deep Water, the first film in 20 years by the high-priest of mainstream erotica Adrian Lyne, is not a deep film. It isn’t meant to be. It is designed as a confectionary aphrodisiac with goodlooking actors(in some cases, sinfully eyecandyish) moving in posh homes and automobiles, swimming in personal backyard swimmingpools and drowning in champagne as if there’s no tomorrow.
One of the toyboy-lookers chooses to drown in the swimmingpool rather than the champagne and that’s when the drama really kicks in. Like the champagne that is really bubbly and the characters who are truly unfettered in their surface values, the drama when it kicks in,is done in that breathless pacy tone which Lyne is known by in his past triumphs namely 9 ½ Weeks, Fatal Attraction and Indecent Proposal.
Sex , betrayal and murder go hand-in-hand in Lyne’s heady brew of the bold and the glib. The shadows which cast an ominous spell on the characters are never intimidating. You know that flow of blood is on a tap.Wait until Adrian Lyne comes to his finale, he may shock you. On the other hand he may leave you with a WTF feeling of betrayal.
Betrayal is what the film protagonist experiences throughout the film. Ben Affleck’s Vic is a loser straight out of a Graham Greene fiction. I swear if this paean to pulp passions (ignited on laugh-moon nights) was not written by the queen of high-class pulp Patricia Highsmith, I would have sworn Affleck was playing a Graham Green hero: so in love with his slutty wife that she cheats on him repeatedly right under his nose.
As the chronically cuckolded husband , Affleck is heartbreakingly imperturbable .It is like watching a hero from a Shakespearean tragedy trying hard not to get angry with his over-sexed wife(I wouldn’t call her a nymphomaniac because I am polite). Of course the seething rage surfaces,as one after another Belinda’s boy-flings start disappearing.
Has her husband Vic ‘dunnit’? The plot doesn’t keep us hanging on too long in suspense. There is a sense of urgency in the the seedy proceedings. Even the lovemaking sequences are hurried;horniness is tolerated but not celebrated the way it was in Lyne’s 9 ½ weeks. A possible reason for this could be Affleck who is more a tragic bloke than a libidinous lad. He stands in good stead as the portrait of a marriage on the rocks, as a whole conservative township of gossipy nosy neighbours and friends, stare whisper and giggle.
Anna De Armis’s Melinda is a very tough woman to play. Technically Melinda doesn’t cheat on her husband Vic: she copulates with other men with his full knowledge , if not consent. She is a terrible wife, an awful mother…You want to hate Melinda.
But damn, she is so hot! Anna De Armis scorches the screen with her impetuous promiscuousness.
Speaking of Melinda’s maternal misdemeanours the little girl playing the daughter Tixie(Grace Jenkins) is absolutely adorable. Stay for the end-credits when this 6-year star sings along with Leo Sayer’s ‘You Make Me Feel Like Dancing’
Deep Water makes us feel happy not to be super-rich. It seems those who live in glass houses do not throw stones.They use much more lethal weapons.
At the most, Deep Water is a sexily assembled gorgeous-to-look at thriller about a man who loves his woman to the death of his self respect.At the least, it is a classy pseudo-porn drama about a man who gets a masochistic pleasure in watching his wife make out with younger men.