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Deep Water Review: Uninspired Erotic Thriller

Starring Ben Affleck and Ana De Armas, Deep Water is technically well crafted but unable to keep audiences engaged in the mystery.

Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct, and even Unfaithful. These erotic thrillers have been known for their distinct style and powerful leading performances. Director Adrian Lyne, who has directed plenty of films in this genre, has made his return back to erotic thrillers with Deep Water. Unfortunately, this particular effort wasn’t as strong or as iconic as these previously mentioned movies. This movie centers around a married couple where the wife, Melinda (Ana de Armas, of Knives Out), has extramarital affairs with the husband, Vic’s (Ben Affleck, of Zach Snyder’s Justice League), consent as long as it keeps the family together. When one of her lovers goes missing, and we get to see Vic’s attitude towards the men that his wife takes home, their community begins to suspect Vic’s morality and intentions. 

Ana de Armas is the true standout and the best part of Deep Water. It seems as if she was almost made to play this type of role, someone who needs to feel careless and free but is tied down by her responsibilities, being a mother and wife. Being able to sleep with other men allows us to see de Armas’ full dramatic acting range, even if most of her work is subtle. In most of the scenes she shares with Affleck, they stand toe to toe but every time, de Armas wins. Affleck’s work didn’t resonate with me nearly as much in this movie. His acting is very subtle as well, but some of the choices the actor makes don’t match up with the character’s actions. By the end of the movie, his whole performance just feels too reserved for this type of role.

Vic (Ben Affleck) in Deep Water
Vic (Ben Affleck) in Deep Water. (Claire Folger / 20th Century Studios. All rights reserved.)

Moving on to the plot itself, from just a basic description of what goes on in Deep Water, it seems like an interesting story. While most of it is just entertaining enough to keep the audience engaged, the plot continuously moves in a less interesting direction. There is something truly fascinating about the dynamic between our protagonists, the married couple, but we spend little time getting to know them well or knowing their history and how they have gotten to this state. That would’ve been the better movie but where the film ends up going just feels uninspired and wasted potential. The mystery keeps getting more and more complicated and by the end of the film when everything is revealed, it wasn’t really worth the wait. 

What hurts most about Deep Water is that we have seen the erotic thriller done right before. It had the pieces to be both genuinely erotic and thrilling but it kept making the wrong turns to meet any expectations that the genre had placed on it. There is a fun and thrilling movie deep down in this film’s production, where Ana de Armas gets to fully shine, and we get to have more context on her and Affleck’s relationship. That’s the movie I want to see and that is the movie I am sure I would love. With that being said, this film isn’t a bad watch, I didn’t regret spending two hours in this story because it is just a somewhat decent movie, just one that had the potential and star power to be so much more than a good performance and unaffecting mystery.  

Deep Water is now available to watch on Hulu. Stream Deep Water!

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