One actor who has been having a resurgence lately is Ben Affleck. Last year, he was in two fantastic films: The Last Duel and The Tender Bar, by Ridley Scott and George Clooney, two incredible directors. His two roles were varied and nuanced. This is the kind of work I want to see him do all the time. Affleck is a great director in his own right as well. He tries to find good roles from good directors to star in. His role in Deep Water almost reaches greatness but often falls back into the trappings of being over-the-top and bad.
Vic (Ben Affleck) is a family man married to Melinda (Ana de Armas), and they have a little girl named Trixie (Grace Jenkins). Affleck’s Vic is a stay-at-home father having retired from being an app designer. Inexplicably, he raises snails and is a photographer in his spare time. These are crazy hobbies. He has too much time on his hands because he goes around watching his wife fornicate with various men. Their relationship in the film is peculiar.
Affleck plays this character in a very stoic way. He seems to be very reserved until he’s not. He can only put up with so much of his wife’s infidelities. What man could put up with their wife cavorting around town with this many other men? Not many. The problem is that he is going around bragging about killing a previous friend of his wife’s. Is all of this bragging the truth or him just messing around? That is the big question. A nosy friend, Lionel (Tracey Letts), starts to catch on to him. So he has to cover his tracks.
Ana De Armas is coming off a nice little role in No Time To Die and her breakout performance in Knives Out. She is perfectly cast opposite Affleck as this promiscuous wife who keeps cheating on her husband. Her flirtatious nature lends itself to the material very nicely. On the other hand, the boyfriends weren’t fleshed out enough for me. I didn’t care what happened to them in the end at all. Finn Wittrock, Brandon Miller, and Jacob Elordi (Euphoria) are all interchangeable pieces wasted in these roles.
The rest of the cast is unforgettable as well. From Lil Rel Howery to Rachel Blanchard, these cast members are here to support the two leads, but they just don’t fit in at the end of the day. They are just here to stretch out the screenplay based on Patricia Highsmith’s book of the same name. She tends to write these types of high-tension stories, but this cast is too big to focus on. At times, the main characters who needed to be a priority in the film were left on the sideline. The film didn’t know where it wanted to go, and these types of books lack the direction a movie needs. This film was all over the place.
The film looks great from the filmmaking aspect. Eigil Bryid gives the film a lovely look. Adrian Lyne is no stranger to this type of film but gives this script no room to breathe. The tension is very high, and the screenplay by Zack Helm and Sam Levinson keeps it that way from beginning to end. The music by Marco Beltrami helps with the feel and tone of the film. This film has all the makings of a great thriller, except it’s not.
All the pieces are in place for this film to work perfectly, but they don’t in the end. Everything is overcooked — the drama in the story and the actors overshadow the very good filmmaking and cinematography. The film looks gorgeous and sounds just as good. Everything seems too big and grand when it needs to be more subtle and tactful. The actors are overdoing their performances, and it’s painfully apparent on screen.
Dan Skip Allen
Sean Boelman Founder/EIC disappointmentmedia.com