It was supposed to be one of the biggest films of 2020, a starry erotic thriller from the post-Fox 20th Century Studios with an awards-friendly release slot late in the year. But the combination of the pandemic and the introduction of new management from Disney compelled the 20th Century decision makers to postpone into the dog days of summer 2021, and then kick it down the road all the way to January 2022.
January came and went, and the long-awaited Deep Water was ultimately shunted off to a streaming-only debut come March. Though there’s still one more month during which this film could very well be delayed into infinity, it looks like the time has come at last for us to watch Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas go nuts on each other.
The former real-life couple portray embittered spouses Vic and Melinda as they continue to share a home in New Orleans, where the psychosexual mind games that make up what’s left of their relationship fast approach a lethal fever pitch. Sure, it could be a coincidence that Melinda’s many extramarital dalliances keep turning up dead, but something in Vic’s eyes suggests he could have something to do with it.
The film has been adapted from the novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith, perhaps best known for her writing about the dashing murderer Tom Ripley, cut from a similar cloth as the lusty, possibly murderous Vic. Highsmith’s prose makes for a natural fit with director Adrian Lyne, once hailed as the master of the erotic thriller, returning to the genre for the first time in decades.
Films like this, in which the day’s biggest screen idols avoid homicidal peril while engaging in sweaty and steamy acts of sexual congress, used to be relatively commonplace in the box-office charts. Lyne returns to a neutered Hollywood on a mission to remind us why this was once a popular mode for grown-up blockbusters, and to see if he can’t return us to those bygone glory days.
Deep Water will stream on 18 March, through Prime Video in the UK and through Hulu in the US.
Published 14 Feb 2022
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