‘Deep Water’ Sees Adrian Lyne Resurface With a Darkly Fun Love Story

twentieth Century Studios

By Rob Hunter · Published on March sixteenth, 2022

Any dialog in regards to the erotic thriller subgenre goes to incorporate greater than a few mentions of Adrian Lyne. 9 1/2 Weeks (1986), Fatal Attraction (1987), Indecent Proposal (1993), Lolita (1997), and Unfaithful (2002) are a few of the style’s most memorable entries main Lyne’s directorial profession to develop into synonymous with all issues horny, trendy, and erotically charged. (The unlucky aspect impact being that too many individuals have forgotten about his transient detour into a totally different style all along with 1990’s still-excellent Jacob’s Ladder.) In addition to being his final erotic thriller, Unfaithful was additionally Lyne’s remaining movie, interval — till now. Twenty years later he’s lastly returned, and if Deep Water can’t fairly evaluate to the uncooked steaminess of the movies that preceded it, it’s by design. This is an enjoyably darkish peek into the wishes and calls for of an outwardly sad married couple that entertains with a deceptively gentle contact.

Vic (Ben Affleck) is a father, a husband, and a retired IT whiz who hit it huge after growing a microchip for drones. His hobbies embody elevating snails, writing poetry, and using his mountain bike, whereas spouse Melinda’s (Ana de Armas) pursuits are restricted to 1 — flirting, flaunting, and playing around with different males. Their buddies have observed, and the gossip has grown to incorporate the concept that Vic could have even killed one in every of Mel’s earlier “friends,” an concept that Vic himself originates by jokingly telling her present obsession Joel (Brendan Miller) that he murdered the lacking man with a hammer. Things solely develop extra sophisticated and murky when one other one in every of her male buddies drowns within the pool throughout a occasion. Is Vic a cuck who’s cracked, or is one thing else at play right here?

This will shock viewers, however Deep Water is a surprisingly and deliberately humorous film. Early comparisons to David Fincher’s Gone Girl (2014) are correct as a lot for the superficial plot similarities as for the darkly comedian coronary heart beating beneath its floor, and whereas it’s not almost to that movie’s stage it’s nonetheless an unexpectedly entertaining take a look at love’s many various varieties. Looks will be deceiving, and one couple’s dysfunction can generally be one other’s secret to a wholesome relationship. What brings two folks collectively would possibly simply be the factor that drives one other aside. What turns one individual on could possibly be a libido-killer for the following. Expectations, it seems, are as fleeting because the sweat from a one-night stand.

Deep Water‘s script, co-written by Zach Helm and Sam Levinson — the writers of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (2007) and Euphoria (2019-2022), respectively (and hilariously) — is an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith‘s 1957 novel of the same name (which in another quick reference to Gone Girl is one of Gillian Flynn’s favourite books). It retains the premise and key preliminary beats of Highsmith’s Deep Water however makes some drastic modifications within the again half leading to a wholly totally different path and consequence. As talked about, that consequence is a slyly humorous thriller in regards to the ups and downs of 1 couple’s love life. Lyne and the writers are finally much less within the core thriller than they initially let on, however it’s in service of a temperamental and oddly endearing love story.

Affleck and Armas are joined of their mildly twisted journey by buddies and neighbors together with Lil Rel Howery, Dash Mihok, and an out of his factor however clearly having a blast Tracy Letts. The complete solid is on the identical web page right here strolling a superb line with a story balancing severe penalties with a artful wink. While removed from a broad comedy, there are some beats in Deep Water that encourage an audible snicker, and Affleck is the face behind a lot of them. He excels at enjoying broken everymen with a shadow about them, somebody whose disarming charisma will get them within the entrance door whilst their darkness leaves a risk hanging within the air. A heat however drained smile, a hulking menace slowly approaching, a man whose intentions can seemingly activate a snail’s shell — with the precise materials, Affleck is as able to George Clooney’s appeal as he’s of Tom Hardy’s brutishness, and his comedic supply highlighting his exhaustion with life isn’t lower than entertaining.

Where Deep Water runs shallow, although, is within the “erotic” a part of the erotic thriller subgenre. There’s no denying the bodily enchantment of the gamers right here, however the on-screen canoodling is stored principally to a minimal as touching, heavy respiratory, and suggestive antics simply out of body are sometimes the norm. Vic and Mel share some transient interactions on that entrance, all aborted prematurely, and we catch glimpses of her within the tub or along with her boy toys, however basically it’s his tamest movie since 1980’s Foxes. The exception right here comes within the unlikely type of scenes exhibiting Affleck finger his snails. Yes, you learn that appropriately. Lyne’s digicam captures Vic’s affection for his gastropod buddies with lens flares and a mind for their glistening, mucus-covered flesh, and his relationship to them is made clear when he mentions that they’d scale a twelve-foot wall to succeed in their mate.

There are minor bumps elsewhere — some tough green-screen fx throughout driving scenes, a clearly seen stunt rider throughout a biking scene — however basically, Deep Water is a sexy movie given form by cinematographer Eigil Bryld and composer Marco Beltrami. Cigarette smoke and sweat are minor gamers right here in comparison with Lyne’s earlier outings, however there’s a better give attention to characters’ faces gazing at one another with love, lust, disdain, and doubt. Vic and Mel reveal as a lot by their expressions as they do with the phrases, and each shift over the course of the movie as shocking occasions give rise to sudden emotions.

Vic’s jealous and seemingly missing in ardour, Mel’s a button pusher who’s fearful that he’ll develop bored, and whereas they’re sad collectively it’s attainable that nobody else deserves to be caught with both of them. Deep Water is the story of a couple whose love seems to be fading and heading in direction of catastrophe, and the rash of disappearances solely hastens that fall, however it’s one instructed with a realizing grin. Lyne is aware of what he’s doing right here and has enjoyable riffing on the steamy seriousness of his previous movies by crafting a steadily paced thriller about an atypical relationship. The humor is lowkey, however it pairs extraordinarily nicely with the darkish coronary heart beating beneath this couple’s troubled love story. Here’s hoping the eighty-one year-old doesn’t wait one other 20 years earlier than his subsequent movie.

Related Topics: Deep Water

Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since earlier than you had been born, which is bizarre seeing as he is so rattling younger. He’s our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists ‘Broadcast News’ as his favourite movie of all time. Feel free to say hello in case you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.


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