The Deep Blue Sea
Director:- Terence Davis
Starring:- Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston, Ann Mitchell, Simon Russell Beale, Barbara Jefford
Runtime:- 1hr 38mins
For film so lavishly scored and beautifully shot, The Deep Blue Sea packs a ferocious bite. Terence Davis’ domestic opera does a remarkable job of creating such a poisonous atmosphere within the safe realm of picturesque houses and jolly local pubs of 1950’s England.
The Deep Blue Sea tells a familiar tale; a housewife who has married for social status and financial stability realises the shallowness of her existence and looks for an enriched life experience in the arms of a younger lover. Interestingly Davis picks up his story where others may choose to end it, looking closer at Rachel Weisz’s new relationship with her lover Freddie (Tom Hiddleston), showing that the grass is not always greener on the other side of an adulterous relationship. Weisz and Hiddlestons’ chemistry is electric, simmering with passion and constantly on the brink of explosion, every moment they share on screen is mesmerising. This is helped in no small part thanks to Davies’ script which is brimming with snide put downs and volcanic arguments.
The words are really brought to life by a cast who seem to relish the opportunity to be so cruel to one another. There is a lot of heart behind what is said however; Hester’s interactions with Freddie and estranged husband Sir William (Simon Russell Beale) are often confrontational and spiteful, but it hints at a deeper affection, the words being fuelled more by heartache that hatred. It is only Hester’s conversations with William’s mother (Barbara Jefford) that we get a sense of true loathing amidst the thinly veiled pleasantries.
If there is a fault to be found in The Deep Blue Sea it is perhaps that Davies is too enamoured with his leading lady. It is almost an unfair criticism as Weisz gives a superb performance as the troubled Hester, winding up her inner rage so tightly that it could be released at any moment. However when the dialogue is as crisp and interesting as this it is a shame to dwell on slow motion, lingering shots of Hester looking forlorn; on occasions it drains the momentum of what is otherwise a well paced emotional drama.
Davies has created a captivating story in a very contained manner; he says a lot using few actors and locations, and within a slender runtime. It is a minimalistic approach that pays off, for all its heartache and malice, The Deep Blue Sea is a fascinating examination of married life in the 1950’s. A cautionary tale that shows a life of romance and adventure can be just as soul-destroying as a life of routine and social stability.