Spoiler-Free Review: “Deep Water” (2022) starring Ben Affleck & Ana de Armas

A well-to-do husband who allows his wife to have affairs in order to avoid a divorce becomes a prime suspect in the disappearance of her lovers. -Synopsis

Film Twitter ands several YouTuber vloggers are commenting re: this new movie (streaming on Hulu) for the past 2 days. I watched this movie late on FRI; an alternate title could be “Deeply Wasteful.” Earlier in the pandemic, I dove back (pun intended) into the (fading) erotic thriller sub-genre. Veteran British director, Adrian Lyne, is known for his erotic thrillers, having worked on 9 1/2 Weeks (1983), Fatal Attraction (1987)), Indecent Proposal (1993), and Unfaithful (2002), among other films. As you may know, Ben Affleck (now 49 y.o.) and Ana de Armas (a 33 y.o. up-and-comer who previously had a big career in Spain) had a year-long relationship after meeting on this movie.

Vic (Affleck) is a wealthy man who has retired young; he enjoys being an involved dad to his adorable/bright daughter, Trixie (Grace Jenkins- who does a fine job). Vic’s younger wife, Melinda (de Armas), seems bored w/ their marriage and doesn’t seem to fit comfortably into the role of mom either. Melinda (who is a knockout) enjoys dancing, drinking (sometimes to excess), and flirting w/ other men. At first, it seems like Vic is cool w/ it (and maybe it also turns him on). His close friends (played by Lil Rel Howery, Dash Mihok, and Devyn A. Taylor) are concerned that Vic is being disrespected (and maybe even hurt) by Melinda’s behavior. Vic explains that maybe he doesn’t share their worries. We learn that one of Melinda’s male friends has recently gone missing. An older author in the community, Don (Tracey Letts- a writer himself), is V interested in this incident.

Deep Water is Lyne’s 1st movie in 20 yrs, and it (sadly) shows. There is a lack of character development here; the script is quite weak. I learned that this story was taken from a novel from Patricia Highsmith; she also wrote The Talented Mr. Ripley (starring Affleck’s BFF- Matt Damon). Watch that movie instead- you won’t regret it! The camera isn’t doing anything unique either. There isn’t much “erotic” or “thrilling” here- to be blunt! It was shot on location in New Orleans- this was mildly interesting (esp. the outdoors scenes).

Many reviewers commented that (real-life) lovers usually lack chemistry onscreen- quite true here. Affleck looks emotionally detached in MOST of his scenes, though I liked his scenes w/ the daughter. As for de Armas, it’s difficult to empathize w/ her; I couldn’t help but compare her to the (mature/complex) role played by Diane Lane in Unfaithful. The “other men” in Melinda’s life (played by Brendan Miller, Jacob Ellordi, and Finn Wittrock) are indeed (conventionally) handsome, BUT they’re also V boring. Ellordi is an Australian actor who co-stars in HBO’s Euphoria; I haven’t yet seen that show.

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