Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Deep Blue Sea (a late review)

The Deep Blue Sea is a film that was released in theaters in the US earlier this year and is now on DVD. I didn't manage to catch it until I saw it via DVD and since it's technically a 2012 film, I feel obligated to review it.

 The Deep Blue Sea is a harrowing and deeply emotional film about a woman, Hester (Rachel Weisz), torn between a passionate affair and a reliable, comfortable marriage. Her marriage to the much older Sir William Collyer gave her stability but not much in the way of happiness. Though Sir William cared for her and looked after her, he could not quite match the strong passion that the much younger Freddie (Tom Hiddleston) can give her. With Freddie, Hester can get the passion she so desperately craves and has been lacking in her life, but when she finally chooses Freddie over Sir William, she loses that stability and reliability as Freddie cannot match the love that Hester has for him.

This film, from director Terence Davies, is emotionally complex and yet simple in its story. Based on the play of the same name by Terence Rattigan, The Deep Blue Sea is about marriages and passionate love affairs gone cold set in the battered post-WWII London of which Terence Davies often chronicles. It can be a gloomy film but it makes great use of flashbacks to give us a better sense of the relationship Hester had with these two men and where they wound up. Overall it's a film dominated by an extremely strong performance from the always-reliable Rachel Weisz. You could argue that this might be her best acting. Tom Hiddleston also gives a great performance as the young lover.

This film can be a bit over-the-top and on-the-nose with its music, which is gorgeous but it practically drowns out the images at times. The images themselves, however, are a marvel. Once again proving there are some things a film camera can do that digital just can't touch, The Deep Blue Sea has this beautiful, classic look to it which really makes the colors and the lights shine through in ways you just don't see as much anymore. This is one gorgeous looking film.

The combination of an assured style and some great acting very much outweighed the rather sullen and gloomy story. Oftentimes though, the films that do best when being adapted from a play, are able to bring something substantial enough to the table to warrant the play being made into the film and I think Terence Davies does the job here. It's not heart-warming or necessarily life-affirming by any stretch of the imagination and the ending could leave you quite cold, but nevertheless, I must say it's still pretty damn good.

Grade: B+

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