Deep Water Lacks Thrill But Banks on Dangerous Relationship Dynamics

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Deep Water Movie Review
Ana de Armas as Melinda Van Allen and Ben Affleck as Vic Van Allen in 20th Century Studios' DEEP WATER. Photo by Claire Folger. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

What do you get when you have a tech mogul, a beautiful wife, and an unconventional relationship? Lately, it seems to be the basis of a lot of movies that are billing themselves as thrillers but seem to be highlighting unhealthy and potentially dangerous relationship dynamics. Hulu’s latest release of the 20th Century movie Deep Water adds another one of these movies to the list, but with big Hollywood names like Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas.

In almost an Eyes Wide Shut style movie, the couple seems perfect from the outside – rich, beautiful, and with a smart daughter. But not everything is as it seems and Melinda (de Armas) opening has flings and relationships with multiple men throughout the city. While at first, these relationships seem to be a slight to her husband Vic (Affleck), he openly seems ok with the relationship dynamics and even welcomes them into their home. But when Melinda’s flings start to disappear, there seems to be more going on. Vic, seems like the ultimate victim of her affairs and possibly the person making sure the men disappear or die.

Ana de Armas as Melinda Van Allen in 20th Century Studios’ DEEP WATER, exclusively on Hulu. Photo by Claire Folger. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

But, from the opening scene, the clues are there. It’s not like the movie tries to hide it at all. Melinda is unhappy, and some of Vic’s behavior doesn’t line up. What’s on display is a controlling and even narcissistic relationship that is being portrayed for entertainment. Even small things like getting joy from their daughter purposely doing things to drive Melinda crazy. Outwardly, Vic’s actions seem to be in reaction to how Melinda is acting, but her actions are more a result of his and an attempt at freedom from their relationship and his (at least) emotional abuse.

Ben Affleck as Vic Van Alden and Ana de Armas as Melinda Van Alden in 20th Century Studios’ DEEP WATER, exclusively on Hulu. Photo by Claire Folger. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

While billed as a thriller, the movie mostly focuses on a controlling and dangerous relationship. This will not only be potentially triggering for a lot of victims of people who have lived through controlling relationships, but should not be a store line for a thriller, or a concept for a mystery. The real-life implications of this type of relationship quite often have disasterous ramifications for the people inside the relationship and not just the people around them. Again, missing the thrilling aspect of this storyline or the mystery when everything is laid out front for everyone to see from the beginning.

“Deep Water” will debut exclusively on Hulu in the U.S. in U.S. on March 18, 2022.

Overall Rating:

Three Stars Review

About Deep Water:

Ben Affleck (“Gone Girl”) and Ana de Armas (“Knives Out”) star in the psychological thriller “Deep Water” from director Adrian Lyne (“Fatal Attraction,” “Indecent Proposal”). Based on the celebrated novel by famed mystery writer Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley), “Deep Water” takes us inside the marriage of picture-perfect Vic (Affleck) and Melinda (de Armas) Van Allen to discover the dangerous mind games they play and what happens to the people that get caught up in them. Directed by Adrian Lyne from a screenplay by Zach Helm and Sam Levinson based on the novel “Deep Water” by Patricia Highsmith, “Deep Water” stars Ben Affleck, Ana de Armas, Tracy Letts, Lil Rel Howery, Dash Mihok, Finn Wittrock, Kristen Connolly, Jacob Elordi, Rachel Blanchard, Michael Braun, Jade Fernandez, Grace Jenkins, Brendan C. Miller, Devyn Tyler and Jeff Pope. The film is produced by Arnon Milchan, Guymon Casady, Benjamin Forkner and Anthony Katagas.

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