Deep Water is a psychological thriller directed by Adrian Lyne about a married couple, Vic and Melinda Van Allen. The film is based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel of the same name.
Streaming on Hulu (US) and Amazon Prime (outside of the US).
Deep Water Plot Summary
Vic Van Allen (Ben Affleck) and Melinda Van Allen (Ana de Armas) are married with a young daughter, Trixie. Melinda treats the marriage like an open relationship and have multiple lovers which she often introduced to Vic When asked about Melinda flaunting her relationships with other men, Vic said he did not like to control his wife like other men.
Melinda introduced Vic to one of her lover, Joel. At a party, Melinda gets drunk and openly flirts with Joel, and Vic watched the pair calmly while friends thought Melinda’s behaviour is inappropriate. Vic managed to get some time with Joel alone and told Joel that he killed Martin Mcrae, the guy who Melinda was previously seeing. Joel got scared and left the party. Melinda was furious with Vic when she found out that he had jokingly threatened Joel and forced Vic to apologize to Joel over dinner the night before Joel had to leave. When they were alone at the end of the night, Vic again told Joel that he killed Martin with a stern face, and called Joel and Uber to leave the house that night.
One day, Vic and Melinda met another couple Don and Kelly Wilson. Don did not seem to like Vic since he found out Vic helped made chips used for drones as it helped fuel military purposes. Then, Vic danced with Kelly Wilson as Melinda watched with her friends. On the drive home, Melinda showed unhappiness over Vic’s actions and bit him when attempting to give him a blowjob.
Vic received a phone call from the bank and found out that Melinda had started taking piano lessons from a man called Charlie de Lisle, who plays at a bar. This time, Vic stalked the man before Melinda told him about the new lover and when Melinda eventually introduced Charlie in a party, Vic drowned Charlie. Melinda and Don believed that Vic killed Charlie, but both did not have evidence.
When her ex-boyfriend, Tony finally comes back to town, Melinda started seeing him again. One night, Vic overheard Melinda on the phone with Tony, talking about potentially moving to Brazil with Trixie. Once again, Vic killed Tony. This time he hit Tony on his head with a rock before setting him in the river with a large stone.
Melinda is devastated when she could no longer get in touch with Tony. During a family picnic with their daughter Trixie, Melinda and Vic rekindled some romance, but Vic also took note that he could see Tony’s body floating in the river of the park. Therefore, the next morning, Vic went back to the park to hide the body while using Melinda’s lost scarf as an excuse.
When he was busy attempting to sink the body using a fragile stick, Don appeared, having found Melinda’s scarf. When he noticed there was a body floating in the water next to Vic, Don made a run for it and drove his car away. Vic chased after him through the woods using his bike and managed to catch up. To avoid hitting Vic, Don swerved his car, fell down the ditch and presumably died.
Meanwhile, Melinda found one of her ex-lover, Cameron’s wallet in Vic’s snail-rearing container. Certain now that Vic had been killing her lovers, Melinda packed her suitcase to leave her husband. But Trixie took her suitcase and dumped it in the pool, indicating that she doesn’t want to leave her father. Melinda sat on the stairs as Vic returned home and she told him that she saw Tony.
Deep Water Review
Deep Water presents itself like a typical psychological thriller with erotic and sensual elements. The characters did not say much but relied on their facial expressions to convey their emotions, some vague and will keep the audience guessing. Ben Affleck plays the silent but deadly observer really well. In most shows, having a main character mantain the same stoic expression will dampen the movie experience; but in this case, it works. Ben Affleck’s character kept us guessing at what he was actually thinking and played a huge role in getting the suspense going for the first half of the film. Ana de Armas, was also balanced the character of Melinda really well, giving her spunk, confidence, flirtatiousness and vulnerability when needed.
Although the performance of the actors is brilliant, that alone could not carry the whole film. Up until the end, the same thing happens over and over again. Melinda finds a new man and they disappear, thanks to Vic. This concept becomes tripe after a while.
The plot also started off being somewhat gray, where we are not sure if Vic is consensual of the “open marriage” concept despite acting nonchalant in front of friends. This therefore made us question Melinda and her intentions- why is she still treating the marriage like an open one in front of her husband and her child if Vic is displeased? No background was provided as to how the couple got where they get to, nor was it actually explained what the current status quo is. Perhaps that was meant to invoke questions in the audience and to keep us guessing. However, ending the film with no questions answered at all feels somewhat unsatisfactory.
6 / 10
A decent psychological thriller that keeps you guessing, but never fully explains nor concludes.