Deep Water is an erotic thriller that could have been far better. The slow pace, plot holes, and leads with no chemistry make this movie a struggle.
Deep Water an erotic thriller based off of a book by the same name, however this erotic thriller takes far too long to get to the good stuff, and overstays its welcome. The biggest problem with this movie is just how uncomfortable most viewers will feel watching it. Almost like we are looking in a neighbor’s window and spying on them.
The premise of the film is that Vic Van Allen (Ben Affleck) and his wife Melinda (Ana de Armas) have a very strange relationship. She flaunts her relationships with other men right in front of him and he just kind of puts up with it — although looks miserable doing so. His friends try to be supportive and get him to leave her, but he claims she is the love of his life and he enjoys being with her because she is different.
Eventually these men start to go missing and Vic himself starts to claim he is the one who kills them in order to threaten her new flings. He laughs it off like it is a joke, but is it? Will the truth ever come out? Buckle up because it takes a very long time to get the thriller genre in this erotic thriller.
As a mother, the fact that their child is around for most of this film infuriated me. These two are absolutely horrible to each other, in so many different ways, and they are completely unafraid to not only do this right in front of their young daughter, but to pit her against each other every now and then. This is disgusting behavior and I suppose if the point is to make viewers hate Vic and Melinda even more, it works.
Without touching on spoilers, this young girl is a lot smarter than they thing, and she starts to pick up things as children often do. Some of the moments with her absolutely broke my heart, and destroyed me as a mother.
As for Affleck and de Armas, there is absolutely no chemistry between the two of them. This makes it both shocking that they were together in real life, but also completely understandable that they broke up. Both of these actors have a great portfolio of work, and normally give incredible performances, so this feels very out of character for both of them. Unfortunately, they just do not work on screen together, which takes away from the stakes of this movie.
If Vic is supposed to be so in love with Melinda that he would do anything to keep her, it should appear that way. To me, it felt like he is more obsessed with the men she is spending her time with than Melinda herself. As for Armas, when it comes to the story it almost seems like she is supposed to be playful — almost like she is teasing Vic, trying to push him over the edge. But what her performance most comes off as is spiteful and, quite frankly, bitchy. She is an extremely selfish person, and it doesn’t feel like she cares about anyone at all but herself — and especially not her husband.
Besides just being an awkward and uncomfortable watch, Deep Water is a struggle to get through because of how slow it is. The setup is almost painful, especially when you take into consideration how much of it makes absolutely no sense at all. There are many moments where viewers will be checking their watch, getting up to get a snack or refill their drink (without pausing), and just wishing things would pick up.
Personally I love character development and world building but holy cow, Deep Water takes it to a whole new level. I understand for the end to pay off you need to make viewers invested in the story and the characters, but this is not the way to do it. This movie is two hours long and if it had been cut down by about thirty minutes, with a faster pace, it could have been so much better and more engaging.
Lil Rel Howery is a fantastic actor but unfortunately he just feels so out of place in this film. He is there to be one of the supportive friends of Vic’s but he just never really works — none of them do I suppose. Perhaps this is to further show just how isolated and obsessed Vic, is, but it never worked for me, personally. Making him more of a loner would have fit into the plot much better.
Or if Affleck would have come off more joking around and having a good time with his friends, instead of this solemn guy most of the time, that could have worked too.
The thriller genre finally shows itself in the last fifteen minutes or so and the pace jumps from a snails pace to a literal race against the clock. While the key moments here don’t fit with the rest of the movie, and raise a whole lot of questions, it is at least entertaining.
This was the edge of my seat thriller I was looking for, but I got it much too late. By the time this came around I didn’t care about either of the infuriating characters, or what was going to happen to them.
Unfortunately Deep Water falls flat for a lot of reasons. The entire plot makes almost no sense, with the majority of things being explained away by coincidence. While the final fifteen minutes is the most entertaining and finally fast paced, it doesn’t fit into the rest of the movie, and raises more questions than it gives answers. Pair these with two very unlikable leads who have zero on screen chemistry and this movie is a struggle to watch.
If you do tune in though, stay for the end credit scene because it is the pallet cleanser you will be craving.
Rating: 1.5 out of 5
About Deep Water
Ben Affleck (“Gone Girl”) and Ana de Armas (“Knives Out”) star in the psychological thriller “Deep Water” from director Adrian Lyne (“Fatal Attraction,” “Indecent Proposal”). Based on the celebrated novel by famed mystery writer Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley), “Deep Water” takes us inside the marriage of picture-perfect Vic (Affleck) and Melinda (de Armas) Van Allen to discover the dangerous mind games they play and what happens to the people that get caught up in them.
Directed by Adrian Lyne from a screenplay by Zach Helm and Sam Levinson based on the novel “Deep Water” by Patricia Highsmith, “Deep Water” stars Ben Affleck, Ana de Armas, Tracy Letts, Lil Rel Howery, Dash Mihok, Finn Wittrock, Kristen Connolly, Jacob Elordi, Rachel Blanchard, Michael Braun, Jade Fernandez, Grace Jenkins, Brendan C. Miller, Devyn Tyler and Jeff Pope. The film is produced by Arnon Milchan, Guymon Casady, Benjamin Forkner and Anthony Katagas.
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Tessa Smith is a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved Film and TV Critic. She is also a Freelance Writer. Tessa has been in the Entertainment writing business for almost ten years and is a member of several Critics Associations including the Critics Choice Association, Hollywood Critics Association, and the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association.