Deep Water

24 Mar 2022

By Contributor

Ana de Armas and Ben Affleck star in a scene from the movie Deep Water. Photo: CNS/Claire Folger, 20th Century Studios.

Director Adrian Lyne’s edgy psychological drama Deep Water (Hulu) has a few important things going for it, including an interesting central relationship and some good acting.

But these assets are counterbalanced by tawdry bedroom scenes that many will find offensive.

As a result, there’s an overheated tone to the whole production.

Ben Affleck plays Louisiana tech whiz Vic Van Allen.

Having designed a computer chip the Defense Department found valuable, Vic has retired at an early age.

But his prosperous lifestyle is marred by wife Melinda’s (Ana de Armas) serial infidelities, affairs she flaunts in front of their friends.

In response, Vic maintains a show of indifference.

Yet, under this outwardly calm manner, he fumes with rage at Melinda’s behavior.

So, when he casually informs the latest of Melinda’s lovers, Joel Dash (Brendan C. Miller), that he murdered one of her earlier paramours — a local man who, as Joel knows, has gone missing — it’s unclear whether he’s joking or deadly serious.

Viewers are at first left to guess about Vic’s guilt.

Even after they’re filled in about what’s really going on, however, the story – adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s 1957 novel by screenwriters Zach Helm and Sam Levinson – maintains considerable interest.

Unfortunately, grown viewers wanting to follow Vic and Melinda’s trail will have to sit through passages of the movie that skirt the borders of indecency.

While some of these can be considered relevant to the exploration of the duo’s odd bond, the erotic interludes are ultimately excessive.

Only the fact that they consume relatively little of the picture’s running time forestalls wholesale rejection.

The film contains criminal violence with brief gore, strong sexual content, including graphic marital lovemaking, adulterous and aberrant acts and nudity, drug use, about a half-dozen profanities, a couple of milder oaths as well as pervasive rough and some crude language.

The Catholic News Service classification is L – limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association rating is R – restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.