DEEP WATER – Review by Susan Granger

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Director Adrian Lyne built his reputation on kinky, erotic thrillers like 9 ½ Weeks, Fatal Attraction, Indecent Proposal, and Unfaithful, so it’s not surprising that he capitalized on the off-camera romance between Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas to take advantage of their sexual chemistry in this sizzler.

Problem is: as a psychosexual whodunit, the perverse plot makes no sense whatever.

Flamboyant Melinda (Ana de Armas) must be a nymphomaniac because she devotes most of her waking hours to promiscuous seduction – lasciviously taunting and teasing her husband, wealthy tech whiz Vic Van Allen, (Ben Affleck), or a series of hapless lovers.

Wherever sultry Melinda goes, she’s on the prowl for her next paramour. One of her recent conquests, Malcolm McRae, has gone missing and Vic claims to have killed him. That shocks but doesn’t discourage Joel (Brendan C. Miller), Charlie (Jacob Elordi) or Tony (Finn Wittrock).

Meanwhile, Vic takes long rides on his mountain bike, tends tob his collection of slimy, intertwining snails, and looks after their precocious young daughter Trixie (Grace Jenkins). Although his buddy (Lil Rel Howery) warns him that Melinda’s brazen behavior is out of control, emasculated Vic seems so complacent that he’s barely conscious.

“What if your concerns aren’t my concerns?” Vic counters.

But then a skeptical local writer Don Wilson (Tracy Letts) becomes a bit too suspicious.

Based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1957 novel, it was previously filmed as a 1981 French version Eaux Profodes with Isabelle Huppert and Jean-Lois Trintignant. This sluggish adaptation by Zach Helm (Stranger Than Fiction) and Sam Levinson (Euphoria) strips away all devious subtlety and emotional complexity.

When Disney acquired 20th Century Fox (as it was called then), there was no way this New Regency film could be released under the Disney banner, so it was dumped on Hulu. Ben Affleck was much better in Duel and The Tender Bar, as was Ana de Armas in Knives Out” and No Time to. Die.

On the Granger Gauge of 1 to 10, Deep Water sinks to a dreadful 3, streaming on Hulu.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.