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Featured image for review of Deep Water on Sean Kelly on Movies

Deep Water

Synopsis:
A well-to-do husband who allows his wife to have affairs in order to avoid a divorce becomes a prime suspect in the disappearance of her lovers.

A unhappily married man becomes a suspect in the disappearances of his promiscuous wife's lovers in . Vic () and Melinda () are a unhappily married couple, who are avoiding divorce with an arrangement that allows Melinda to see various lovers on the side. This results in a seething jealously in Vic, who make it routine to make thinly veiled threats to Melinda's lovers. However, when one of these lovers ends up drowning at a pool party, Vic is suspected of being involved with the death, particularly by family friend Don Wilson (Tracy Letts).

Deep Water is a film directed by Adrian Lyne (Fatal Attraction), based on the 1955 novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith. The film is being touted as a return to the erotic thrillers that were quite prominent in the 1980s and 1990s, many of which were directed by Lyne. The plot of the film focuses on a couple in a very one-sided open marriage and the question is asked whether Vic's jealousy over his wife Melinda's promiscuous activity has led to him committing murder.

Deep Water was originally meant to be theatrically in the fall of 2020, but was subject of multiple delays as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The film can also be considered a victim of Disney's acquisition of 20th Century Fox, with the ultimate decision being made to release the film direct to streaming on Hulu in the United States and Prime Video internationally. During the delay, stars Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas entered into a public, yet short-lived, real life romantic relationship, which has long since dissolved now that Deep Water is finally seeing release.

While Deep Water is touted as the return of the erotic thriller, I found that the film isn't really that erotic and is barely a thriller. There is little to no real sexual chemistry between Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas, even though the latter is trying her best to be a toying seductress. In many ways, it seems like Deep Water is trying to be a repeat of Gone Girl, which in retrospect is probably a much better erotic thriller than this film would ever be.

For much of the second half of Dark Water, the seductive game played between Vic and Melinda put on the sidelines, as the focus moves the question about whether Vic is responsible for killing Melinda's lovers in jealous rages. This includes featuring Tracy Letts as the highly suspicious Don Wilson, a character who is ultimately pointless, other than the provide an antagonistic foil for Vic, who role in the film otherwise leads nowhere.

Adrian Lyne had a 20 year gap between the release of 2002's Unfaithful, arguably one of the final films from the glory days of erotic thrillers, and Deep Water. However, the end result is a quite mediocre and surprisingly tame film that demonstrates that this subgenre should probably stay dead.

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Trailer for Deep Water

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How to Watch Deep Water

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Where to Stream Deep Water

Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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