By Jack Deegan
Believe it or not, “Deep Water” has actually been in development for close to a decade, with director Adrian Lyne signing on in 2013. It wasn’t until 2019 when things really started to get in motion, but unfortunately everything became sidelined due to the pandemic. The film would go on to be delayed three separate times, before finally releasing on March 18 of this year.
The film follows Melinda (Ana de Armas) and Vic Van Allen (Ben Affleck), a married couple who have fallen out of love with each other but stay together for their daughter. They begin playing deadly mind games against one another, which to those around them dying.
This movie was ultimately disappointing. It wasn’t the worst movie ever by a long shot, but it’s never able to really get going and be as interesting as it could. On the surface, the premise is a really compelling idea that could make for a fantastic film. Unfortunately, this movie never gets to explore that idea fully and is held back by its own struggles in the script.
“Deep Water” feels a lot like the movie can’t decide what it wants to be. It’s not exciting enough to be a thriller, but it doesn’t lean enough into the romance either. The story is very straightforward from the get-go. Vic is willing to do whatever it takes (in the worst ways) to keep Melinda in his life and their family together, and he has a hard time dealing with his jealousy. Melinda is constantly trying to push Vic over the edge and to see what she can get away with. That’s about as interesting as things get as the story feels, ironically, very shallow. There’s an entire subplot involving snails that also never really gets anywhere and just feels like a waste of time.
One of the biggest factors holding the movie back is the poor pacing. For the majority of the runtime, the film feels it’s just killing time until the next big moment. Those big moments were really interesting and had my attention, but there wasn’t much of a flow from scene to scene to ride that wave of momentum. It wasn’t very thrilling for something that’s marketed as a psychological thriller. When the movie does start to ramp up and get interesting, it ends without addressing all that’s happened and tying everything up neatly. It’s not a satisfying watch when you sit there waiting for something to happen, and when it finally does, the movie ends without giving you a conclusion.
One of the brightest spots of the film comes from the acting, especially from Ana de Armas who steals every scene she’s in. She’s able to play Melinda in a very interesting way, shifting from one emotion to another in an instant. While the actual story may be lacking, her performance is able to enhance it all and make it as captivating as possible.
Overall, “Deep Water” has its moments, but it falls flat in its shallow story. A terrific performance from Ana de Armas isn’t enough to warrant a watch, and it left me with a bad taste in my mouth as it all wrapped up without a satisfying conclusion to a poorly paced movie that squandered an interesting premise.