Deep Water

Back in the 1980s and through to the early 2000s, Adrian Lyne made a name for himself as to the go to director for erotic thrillers in Hollywood. The steamy exploits of 9 ½ Weeks, Fatal Attraction and Indecent Proposal were enough to make Lyne the man you asked to direct a film when you wanted to set the audiences pulse racing. Modern Hollywood has recently been accused of a lack of sex in its films, and it’s apt that Lyne is back with two of Hollywood’s best looking actors in Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas. The two play a married couple, but the catch is that she is allowed to carry on having affairs, if she also agrees not to divorce him.

For a film being sold as an erotic thriller, it pains me to say that Deep Water is neither erotic or thrilling. In fact, it’s surprising just how vanilla this film is. Despite being an actual couple during the delayed production of the film, neither de Armas or Affleck share a shred of chemistry when on screen. Vic Van Allen (Affleck) is a retired tech worker who produced a microchip that is now used in warfare. While Melinda Van Allen (de Armas) is little more than a trophy wife whose goals appear to be getting drunk, ignoring her young daughter and being vile to her husband. It’s not clear what has come between the two in the past, and it’s not clear why they stick together now. Vic is continually embarrassed in front of his friends at parties and other social events as Melinda flaunts herself to the various array of young, good looking men who come into her life. Meanwhile, Vic seems unfazed by it all. Does he secretly get off on being a cuckold? Does he enjoy knowing his wife is having sex with other men? Quite why either party continues to put up with the other is never explored, and it all adds up to a very mean spirited film.

Both actors appear to be on auto-pilot for large parts of the film. Ana de Armas struts around full of life and looking pretty, but her character is vacant and treats Vic in a sickening way. Vic, meanwhile, seems to have the emotional range of a plastic bag floating in the wind. When Vic, or Affleck, manages to get out of first gear he can be quite enjoyable, in a psychopathic kind of way. Once the story kicks in, and Melinda’s boyfriends all start to go missing, the blame is put squarely on Vic. He teases with Melinda’s latest squeeze that he killed one of her friends for hanging around her too much. He plays it off as a joke, but there is a sociopathic glint in his eye that makes you believe that he could really have done it. 

Sadly, Deep Water doesn’t work on any conceivable level. Not only is it a poor erotic thriller, but it’s also a poor film full stop. The cast are wasted and the films director seems to be content for everyone to coast along. If this is the return of the erotic thriller in mainstream cinema, then I will be abstaining for the foreseeable future.

2/5

Deep Water is available on Prime Video from 18 March.

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