‘Deep Water’ is Bizarre and Unintentionally Funny (Review)

by | Mar 16, 2022

It’s nice to see Ben Affleck all but move on from his take on Batman for Warner Brothers (minus one more brief appearance in next year’s The Flash). Hopefully, means we’ll get to see him in more dramas and thrillers that capture viewer’s eyes. While his latest film, Deep Water, will certainly catch any viewer’s attention, it doesn’t do so for the right reasons. This psychological thriller from director Adrian Lyne is oddly structured, unintentionally funny, and will have you asking several questions by the time the credits roll. It’s easy to see why this film was sitting on the shelf for two years until this weekend. 

Deep Water tells the story of a married couple, Vic (Affleck) and Melinda Van Allen (Ana de Armas), in Louisiana who are at opposite ends of the spectrum in their marriage. While Vic is committed to Melinda and taking care of their daughter (Grace Jenkins), Melinda is an alcoholic who is interested in any guy who comes into contact with her. Playing a psychological game on Vic, Melinda’s reputation has been the topic of discussion around town and their friends. Vic, a millionaire living off the sale of his technology to the military and finding interest in taking care of snails, watches Melinda from a distance around all these guys. As their relationship see-saws back and forth, the stakes get bigger and the questions only become more frequent. 

Within 30 minutes of the film, the presentation of Vic and Melinda’s relationship becomes odd. Vic knows what Melinda is doing and is just letting it happen right in front of himself. While it’s certainly fascinating, and viewers will be pulled in out of curiosity for what exactly will happen, unfortunately there is no pay off. Moments that are supposed to come off as thrilling are either bizarre in presentation or unintentionally funny. And, without spoiling anything, the film abruptly ends. When you have Affleck and de Armas, an up-and-comer in Hollywood, at the center of this story, you would expect something spicier or thrilling rather than what the script offers up here. It’s a shame, really, as it feels like a more fleshed-out version of this film exists somewhere, whether it was left on the cutting floor, not included at all in the making of this film, or remains in the imagination of director Adrian Lyne.

Disney recently announced that they want to release 10 original films every year on Hulu, which is where this offering will be available to stream on Friday. Deep Water will contribute to that quota, even though it’s easy to see why this film went directly to streaming rather that getting a theatrical release under the 20th Century Studios banner. Deep Water may make for an entertaining evening at home while sharing a bottle of wine with your significant other. However, it will be for the wrong reasons as you try to figure out how and why this movie got made or released given the way it’s presented. I’m all for a post-Batman Affleck given that he is one of Hollywood’s best. One only can hope things will go up from here. 

Grade: C-