Deep Water (2022)
Directed by Adrian Lyne
Directed by Adrian Lyne (“Fatal Attraction,” “Indecent Proposal”) and written by Sam Levinson, the creator of HBO’s hit TV series “Euphoria,” Hulu’s new relationship thriller “Deep Water” bridges a generational divide between the way Hollywood treated sex thirty years ago and the way it treats sex now.
Once Vic (Ben Affleck) and Melinda (Ana de Armas) realized their marriage was on the rocks, they came to an unusual agreement. Melinda would be allowed to date other men, as long as she didn’t abandon her husband and daughter (Grace Jenkins). When Vic’s jealous side emerges, though, he makes the agreement difficult to sustain. One of Melinda’s former lovers has gone missing, and a local noir novelist and amateur sleuth (Tracy Letts) thinks he knows whodunnit.
For most of the film’s two-hour runtime, very little actually happens. “Deep Water” is a movie of anticipation. All throughout, we’re treated to some of the most sensational simmering sexual tension I’ve ever seen on screen. Tension as thick as the humidity of this movie’s moist Louisiana setting. When a movie hooks audiences with tension, the ending has got to pay off. That’s where I had trouble with “Deep Water.” The final scenes seemed rushed. Characters did things that, I felt, weren’t true to who they had been up until that point. All to serve the purpose of having a satisfactory ending for the audience.
Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas have complicated chemistry, which is exactly what their roles call for. Like the jazz music that pops up occasionally (this movie’s soundtrack is one of its most surprising assets), Vic and Melinda’s love is volatile. More is left unsaid than in relationship thrillers of the 1980s and 1990s. There’s more nuance. The genre was so formulaic for a while, I’m glad to see it move on. I’m even happier that it moved on by adapting a 1957 Patricia Highsmith novel (and happier still that they changed the ending of that novel…though, again, I think they could have handled the ending with more care).
While it’s not without its flaws, “Deep Water” is worth watching if only for the suspense that’s so carefully crafted. I’m not sure it stuck the landing, but I sure did enjoy the attempt.