I am in full support of an occasional sexy, raunchy, thriller. There, I said it. Unfortunately, diving into Deep Water left me less than thrilled, and there was almost nothing sexy about it. This was a film that didn’t seem to understand its own story, and could not seem to land on a firm identity.
The synopsis for the film on Prime Video states “Deep Water takes us inside the marriage of picture-perfect Vic and Melinda Van Allen to discover the dangerous mind games they play and what happens to the people that get caught up in them.” Having now watched the film, I’m not entirely sure if that is even what happened. The film was based on the book Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith, and I have a feeling it was translated into film very poorly, leaving out a lot of details.
Judging from the synopsis, you would assume Melinda’s character is in on the game, which I will keep a secret, but in the film she seems completely taken aback by it. Perhaps the description might describe what comes next after the film’s final scene, but it certainly isn’t what happened in this version of Deep Water.
With Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas playing our leading couple, Vic and Melinda, I had high-hopes that the film would be full of sexual tension, especially since the co-stars, turned couple, turned exes, turned back into a couple, were helming the cast. The banter back and forth between them was tense, but it was hard to feel anything for Melinda’s character outside of seeing her as a spoiled brat.
As viewers, we were given no backstory to why she acts this way or why Vic chooses to turn a blind eye (though towards the end, we can guess). We have no real history of their relationship outside a few shallow details, and we know Vic is rich, made a chip that is used in bombs, and that’s the end of it.
“The material given was handled well, but unfortunately, the material is what let Deep Water drown.”
I will say that each played their role well, even if they didn’t make sense. Affleck’s Vic was charming, empty or fierce when he needed to be, and de Armas was flirtatious, broken and sarcastic when she needed to be. The material given was handled well, but unfortunately, the material is what let Deep Water drown.
Some interesting actors came to the party, with Lil Rel Howery (Get Out, Free Guy), Rachel Blanchard (Clueless, Fargo), Jacob Elordi (Euphoria), and Finn Wittrock (American Horror Story) making up some of the supporting characters. Though the camaraderie between our leading couple and their friends in Deep Water is pleasant to watch, it still feels like we are missing something major. It’s very much a don’t ask don’t tell situation that at least the audience should be privy to.
One good thing that did come out of Deep Water is that I now want to check out the novel, if only to fill in all the pieces that are still missing. The story looks like it could have promise, but the script seemed to focus on the salaciousness of it all, leaving us with very shallow characters viewers can’t connect to. And somehow, it did that without being all that scandalous outside a scene or two. With all the heavy breathing in the trailers, I thought I’d be in for something much more NSFW.
The relationship I enjoyed the most was actually between Vic and his daughter, Trixie. But even that seemed like it just didn’t fit in the film. The daughter was very intuitive for a six-year-old, and way too comfortable talking about murder or her mother’s relationships. The end of the film cut to post credits with the young actor singing away, which again, completely derails the tone of the movie, no matter how adorable the young actor is.
Deep Water is a film that didn’t manage to fill in all the gaps, leaving viewers with a very disjointed plot and no real storyline or character to root for. Though the actors played their roles well, it felt like the characters were only shells of what they could be. Hopefully, the book will flesh out the story a little better for anyone left with questions.