Deep Water review, as written by a terrible erotic fiction writer
Read on as we penetrate the brand new A-list erotic thriller.
During the '80s, '90s and early '00s, director Adrian Lyne was constantly thrusting his erotic movie genre movies into cinemas, with consistently ecstatic end results: 9 1/2 Weeks, Fatal Attraction, Indecent Proposal... before retiring, on a semi basis, 20 years ago with the release of his Oscar-nominated Unfaithful.
Now he's back with a bang, at a time when audiences are begging - really longing - for the erotic thriller genre to return.
Admittedly, plunging into that comeback with the voyeuristic appeal of having real-life (at the time of filming) couple Ben Affleck and Ana De Armas as the central twosome is certainly an arousing enticement.
Adapted from a Patricia Highsmith novel (the queen of psychological thrillers in the 1950s and 1960s) with the adaptation script served up by the creator of Euphoria, it seems all the right parts are fitting perfectly into the right places.
Unfortunately, while excitement does arrive in spurts, mostly Deep Water just lays there like a limp fish.
The juicy core of the story itself certainly gives the viewer enough to bite down on: married couple Vic (Affleck) and Melinda (De Armas) seem to have a perfect life – he's rich from a microchip invention, they've a perfectly precocious young daughter, a huge house in New Orleans, and their day-to-day lives seem to consist of nothing more than getting drunk in their equally rich friends' mansions.
However, she openly flirts, dances and basically drapes out of hot younger men at these parties, much to the chagrin of Vic's friends, while he himself seems to stay oddly sedate and mute about the whole scenario.
Does he enjoy being a cuckold? Maybe he gets off on seeing his wife with these other men? Who are we to judge? Things only get really complicated when one of the men Melinda was "friends" with suddenly turns up dead, and Vic finds himself the primary suspect.
Lots of wiggle room there to tease out and explicitly explore the hidden depths of their relationship, but once all of the pieces are laid bare, suddenly almost everyone involved gets cold feet. All talk, no trousers.
We say almost everyone, because it is clear that De Armas knows exactly what kind of movie she's in. A hurricane of casual cruelty, she actively gets off on treating her husband like an emotional doormat almost as much as he (might?) enjoy passively embarking on this open relationship with her.
Yet at the throbbing centre of the movie, the biggest turn-off is Affleck, who stiffly acts his way through this like he took a handful of temazepam before each and every take. The initial throbbing tension of not fully understanding the ins and outs (and ins again) of their relationship is quickly replaced by a keeping an eye on Affleck to see if he dozes off mid-session.
Only during the climax, when the movie remembers the "thriller" part of its "erotic thriller" description, does it finally blow its load of proper suspense and action... but by then, it is too little, too late.
If this is what is to become of erotic thrillers, then maybe it is best we leave them in past, to be fondly remembered during their sexual prime, instead of the lustless quickies they seem to have turned into.
Deep Water is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video from Friday, 18 March.
Clips via Prime Video