A crime has been committed. We were promised a sexy erotic thriller and instead we were given a total bore. Adrian Lyne who is known for creating sex driven dramas of the 90’s such as Fatal Attraction, Indecent Proposal and Jacob’s Ladder should have been able to live up to his promise. DEEP WATER has been anticipated for quite some time since the highly public real life relationship of Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas. Then after multiple delays and a dump onto Hulu things started to look a little shaky. Oh and it also didn’t help that the two leads had a tough breakup so the chances of any fun public press for the film was dead. Chaos aside this adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1957 novel is too tame and quite a dull to sit through.
It is noticeable from the start that Vic (Ben Affleck) and Melinda (Ana de Armas) do not have a normal marriage. Even as Vic arrives home from a morning workout he arrives home to strip down on his front porch while Melinda watches only to walk away. It isn’t until a party that night that we learn Melinda is allowed to sleep with other men while Vic stands by watching his wife court other men from an angry distance. Even as his close friends question this choice and express their cause for concern, Vic claims to be content with the arrangement. Melinda gets her men and Vic doesn’t have to go through a divorce or lose the mother of his young daughter Trixie (a confident newcomer Grace Jenkins). These early mind games are the most enjoyable part and a hint of exciting and quite horny things to come. Unfortunately this hot and heavy movie quickly loses steam.
Lyne doesn’t take his time allowing us to see the pain or mystery behind Vic. Instead Affleck plays him as such a down on his lucky guy that you are practically rooting for Melinda’s infidelity. When we learn that one of Melinda’s former lovers has been found dead Vic quickly claims credit. Whether he is joking or not this quick reveal allows the film to lose its mystery. It also doesn’t help that when Melinda brings home new men including Euphoria’s Jacob Elordi and Finn Wittrock (both forgettable in way too limited roles) we soon learn if Vic’s threats are real or just mockery to get off on. This problem plagues DEEP WATER throughout. Mystery is built and the answers are given too fast with no payback. There are attempts to play out like a crime noir involving yet another underused Tracy Lett’s performance as a sleazy novelist looking for inspiration for his next book and finding Vic and Melinda’s relationship fascinating but dangerous. It is a role that could have involved a third act with real stakes. Instead the film feels like it fell through a big studio editor’s shredder and its ending is so abrupt that you feel like you need to rewind in case you missed something big; you didn’t. DEEP WATER may be one of those films that grows with others in time and will probably be another annoying victim of film twitter’s “10 years later DEEP WATER is underrated” think pieces, but let’s just end that now. This is not a good film nor is it a particularly amusing bad film. This is just a bore that so desperately wants to get you hot and bothered that it forgets jumping into bed may be fun, but the build up is even better.
DEEP WATER IS NOW ON HULU