Well, there is one thing that can be said about director Adrian Lyne, he seems obsessed with the themes of infidelity and the unfaithfulness of significant others in his films. From his 1987 film Fatal Attraction to Unfaithful (2002), he has made a total of 4 films covering plots of unfaithful husbands and wives, including his latest film Deep Water which marks his first film in 20 years. Anticipation was a middle ground when this film was first announced, with a story seemingly too dull to lay claim as a memorable film and as it turns out, the film does happen to miss the mark entirely by making a film that says so much yet means so little. And it is quite a shame after watching it since Lynes films have always been on the unique side, specifically his gratifying film, Jacob’s Ladder. It’s a film that never gives the audience leeway, just a half-baked entry for the thriller genre, and with its tones reminiscent of David Fincher’s Gone Girl, the film completely strays from an interesting flow of plot development. Deep Water focuses on Vic Van Allen, a suburban dad and a husband to his charming wife, Melinda. The only problem is, the mundane suburban life has taken a toll on the couple, pushing Melinda to resort to serial infidelity. And with Vic wanting to keep the facade of a happy family, he lets her actions play out.
Now, the fundamental problem with the film comes from the writer’s room. Sam Levinson and Zach Helm write a preposterous script, creating a nonsensical plot filled to the brim with less than smooth plot developments. The viewing experience is rendered almost completely soulless as you watch the beyond monotonous characters engage in poorly written conversations. And with a 2-hour runtime, it seems reasonably expected to believe the film will make the effort to answer every question by the end, but the entire duration is blemished with a number of irrelevant details to never be brought up again, causing strange distractions constantly. And with a lack of context thrown into the mix, the potential to connect with the characters is thrown away within the first 10 minutes of the film. Not only is the writing dull for the entirety of the film, but the pacing also kills any remotely adequate elements brought in, to begin with, and makes almost nothing about this film interesting to watch. I would honestly say anyone would be much better off watching paint dry than subjecting themselves to this awful melodramatic attempting to emulate Gone Girl.
If there is anything good to say about this atrocity, it would have to be the performances which are much less of a bore to watch. Ben Affleck plays the husband to Ana De Armas’ character, and given the material they had to work with, I would say they did the best that they could with the disarrayed screenplay. Ana De Armas does a fantastic job as the seductive femme fatale, emitting a powerful performance, and even Ben Affleck, who has been having quite the rough couple of years, pushes past the deplorable story to deliver acceptable performance. The gripes with this film do not conclude in the slightest, unfortunately, since the film becomes this weird erotica project, featuring Ana De Armas front and center. The use of nudity alone is tasteless, treating it as a show and tell rather than being beneficial to the film as a whole. To preface, this film is actually an adaptation of a novel written by Patricia Highsmith but it seems as though the film took the basic outline of the book and turned it into an illogical blunder. Crucial details to help clear confusion are stripped away, as well as character writing needed to produce effective psychological tension. For a film purely focused on creating mental tension between characters, it sure is missing the key components in doing so. Not to mention the color palette used, highlighting dark colors to remind you that this is, in fact, a melodrama.
So essentially, Adrian Lyne’s newest film covers barely any new ground, instead, helping to direct one of this year’s most pointless films. With its spotty writing, to its colorless tones, Deep Water lacks risk-taking and opts for one-dimensional storytelling. And without important context to properly unfold the story, audiences are left with what feels like a film featuring random scenes loosely connected to each other. At the risk of sounding dramatic, this film provides almost nothing for audiences to look forward to, and it continues to waste time by including unimportant details as well as dialogue taken from a beginner’s writers class. There is almost no enjoyment that will come from watching this ill-advised film, in fact, I would highly advise anyone to skip this and instead, check out Lyne’s Unfaithful as the film makes an effort to include logic and common sense. Deep Water serves as a 2-hour forgettable experience, so please do yourself a favor and pass this film as it is not worth anyone’s time.