Neither erotic or thrilling, it lacks the smoldering energy of director Adrian Lyne’s previous work. Movies like “9 ½ Weeks” and “Unfaithful” established him as a steamer of screens, but that was then.
This is now. A better title for “Deep Water” may have been “Cold Water.”
Affleck plays Vic, a retired software developer who made a fortune designing a chip that helps drones locate and destroy targets. He spends his days with his daughter while his wild wife Melinda (de Armas), having grown bored of their routine, entertains herself with a series of very public affairs. For the most part Vic bites his lip but when one of Melinda’s flings winds up dead, face down in their pool, cuckold Vic becomes a suspect and their already tenuous situation comes closer to the breaking point.
Lyne, in his first film in twenty years, seems unable to tease out the tension from the love-hate story, sexual or otherwise. The repeated affair/disappearance cycle gets old fast and Lyne does little to make us care about any of them, Vic, Melinda or her unfortunate boyfriends.
I can say that Affleck has one of the best scowls in movies, but that’s not enough to hang an entire performance on. A Sad Affleck meme come to life, for much of the movie it appears he’s given up, Ben, not Vic. It’s as though he stopped caring after the first reel. Vic should display hidden reserves of resolve but Affleck’s performance is as inert as the film.
De Armas, so wonderful in “Knives Out” and “No Time to Die,” is reduced to an eye-batting subject for Lyne’s male gaze.
A tepid psychosexual cuckold tale with a side of murder and loose ends galore, “Deep Water” wastes its stars in a movie that does not rise to the challenge of exploring the story’s themes of morality, murder and marriage.