Adrien-Lyne returns to eroticism deep waters (deep waters), the most recent production of Amazon Prime Video. The return, after several years without being behind the camera (Unfaithful created in 2002), is in keeping with its cinematographic tradition. A film of skin and action, of adrenaline and tensions that lead to intimate encounters or personal conflicts, with Ben Affleck and Anne of Arms as protagonists.
In Adrian Lyne’s cinema, sex is a vehicle for saying much more than the intimacy between one and the other. In the case of deep watersis part of the support of the relationship between Vic Van Allen (Ben Affleck) and Melinda Van Allen (Anne of Arms). On the other hand, it is what constantly threatens this bond. The two have a fictional relationship, which is activated during social encounters. Beyond these encounters, she is cold and lacking in affection (coming out of sporadic hot flashes).
The detail is that, unlike Vic, Melinda seeks that adrenaline lost over the years in others. To the point of manipulating her husband into knowing about these meetings or paying the costs. As absurd as it may seem, this is Lyne’s way of showing a less frank side of sentimental relationships and with recognizable dramatic conflicts. deep waters it’s a little harder in that sense, inviting us to think even more about the importance of issues such as communication and individuality (even as a couple).
deep waters and the value of atmospheres
many sequences movie they are slow, in empty spaces, with different planes in relation to the characters or an object between them. These are allegories and points of view that Lyne uses to suggest to the viewer the gap between one and the other. What could be a perfect family, including a daughter, without economic or sociability problems, is the result of a series of decisions that established a bond that ended up enslaving them both.
This is why the atmospheres shooting spaces and tension are key issues in this story. These aspects sometimes give the feeling of being faced with a movie of mystery, close to offering a detail that makes it a horror film, even if later it settles as a more natural thriller in which the disappearance of a body and the death of one of the characters brings a another level of tension, in which Ben Affleck takes the reins of the story.
deep waters aspires through Ben Affleck to generate a psychological experience that doesn’t quite work. We see his reactions to the behavior of the character of Ana de Armas but his thoughts are foreign to the viewer. It remains to interpret them gropingly. This can condition the experience. Meanwhile, Ana de Armas is compelling as a character capable of unfolding, showing different faces, being erotic, sensual and at the same time conveying a poignant point of fragility.
It’s convenient to pay attention to the details discussed earlier without the script helping you a bit more. That’s why it’s not a movie to watch from the sidelines. Neither good nor bad: these are decisions of cinematographic language.
The weight of secondary characters
Compared to the above, by giving a good part of the weight of the story to Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas, the potential of the characters close to them is diluted. Their stories are also seen from afar, with no development that can add to the plot. Except the case of Tracy Letts. The actor (who just gave a prodigious performance in victory hour) interpreter Lionel. He is a writer looking for the subject of his next novel.
deep waters suggests the subject is Vic Van Allen. It happens with Lionel’s view of him, which ranges from uncomfortable comments in public to an alleged private investigation attributed to him, to remote accompaniment in some cases. The film also hints at a possible conflict with the writer’s wife, something that also falls by the wayside. The feeling is that in both cases, it took more screen time to build them up and thus complete this part of the story.
The film aspires to invite you to reflect on communication, failed relationships, sex as a response to fill gaps, the inability to form agreements, paranoia and dysregulation of jealousy and an ideal of a loving relationship that seems out of time but stays there. In this research, there is success because the questions are easily generated. Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas respond in a good way; above all the actress, both in the erotic moments and in the more dramatic ones, especially the latter.
But the balance sought with the other characters is not entirely convincing. This conditioning factor is the stone that sinks it into the river, which limits its full potential. Especially if you take into account that there are movies like Malcolm and Marie (Sam Levinson, 2021) and story of a marriage (Noah Baumbach, 2019) who also deal with similar topics, with less resources but in a better way.