Review: Deep Water (2022)

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Deep Water (2022)

Directed by: Adrian Lyne | 115 minutes | drama, thriller | Actors: Ben Affleck, Ana de Armas, Tracy Letts, Rachel Blanchard, Lil Rel Howery, Finn Wittrock, Jacob Elordi, Dash Mihok, Kristen Connolly, Jade Fernandez, Michael Braun, Michael Scialabba, Devyn A. Tyler, Brendan Miller, Grace Jenkins , Years Mitchell

Still waters run deep. For example, the character Vic Van Allen (Ben Affleck) is portrayed in the film ‘Deep Water’. He is married to Melinda (Ana de Armas) and they have a daughter together. However, Melinda is not happy in a monogamous relationship. To avoid a divorce, Vic allows her to have several affairs. At parties, when Melinda likes to get drunk and openly flirt with her current lover, Vic quietly observes her and stands modestly to the side until he has a moment alone with the unsuspecting toy boy. That’s when he can make it clear that he is his wife’s only love.

‘Deep Water’ is based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel of the same title, written in 1957. The book is not the first film adaptation of one of her novels. Other titles include ‘Strangers on a Train’ (Alfred Hitchcock, 1951), ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’ (Anthony Minghella, 1999) and ‘Carol’ (Todd Hayness, 2015). The film ‘Deep Water’ differs from its predecessors in that the story that originally takes place in the 50s setting is now set in the present day. This is the movie’s major pitfall.

Despite the fact that the couple is played by strong actors such as Ben Affleck and Ana de Armes, their relationship is far from believable. In the 1950s it was still plausible to get stranded in a marriage where divorce is not the solution. But that is hardly the case now. Vic and Melinda show a relationship where the words “I love you” seem to mean nothing. The daughter, who could still represent some logical connection between them, is actually a secondary character who should not have been present. Besides giving Vic the opportunity to glorify his role as a father, she seems far from being the reason for her parents to stay together. This results in a two-hour question: “why are they staying together?” What good is a relationship if it’s so open that you’re not together anymore?

‘Deep Water’ follows Vic’s perspective, trying to form compassion for this character. He is portrayed as the man who cares for and loves his daughter, while his wife lies in bed with a hangover. Then they step together from party to party where she and their friends, a bunch of adults, act like teenagers. Vic’s calm but intimidating attitude towards Melinda’s loves is a pathetic excuse for performing toxic masculinity. He lets her be free in her choices and sexuality, but by threatening her boyfriends he keeps her under control. Melinda is portrayed purely as a sexual object and there is little room for her intelligent dignity. It might have been interesting to get her perspective, but that is taken away from the viewer. It might have been interesting to get her perspective, but that is taken away from the viewer. It’s a shame that this movie pays so much attention to the so-called victim role of the male character and thereby creates an unhealthy image of the open relationship. The soundtrack is very good, but that’s about all.

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