Sunday, April 15, 2012

Film Review: The Deep Blue Sea

"The Deep Blue Sea" *** (out of ****)

"I want to cross you off my list/ But every time you come back knocking at my door/ Fate seems to give my heart a twist/ And I come crawling back for more"
lyrics to the song "Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea" by Harold Arlen & Ted Koehler

Love is a funny thing. People can discuss it in clear and rational ways but then comes the moment when you fall in love and all that rational and logical thinking goes flying out the window. Who can truly say why we fall in love with the people we do? When you love someone you simply love them. That person may be all wrong for you. You might even know deep down inside it won't last but you are over come by an emotion.

This is at the center of Terence Davies new film "The Deep Blue Sea" (2012) based on a play by Terence Rattigan and a remake of a 1955 version starring Vivien Leigh with a screenplay adaptation by Rattigan.

Rachel Weisz plays Hester Collyer a woman married to an "important" man, a judge (Simon Russell Beale). With her husband, Hester leads a very comfortable and respectable life. But Hester finds herself having an affair with a pilot, Freddie (Tom Hiddleston). A man who is not able to offer Hester financially what her husband can. But Hester loves him even though Freddie claims, as they have a heated argument, that he can never love her as much as she loves him.

The movie takes place in London in the 1950s. William Collyer, the husband, refuses to give Hester a divorce. This however won't stop her from continuing her relationship with Freddie as the two move into an apartment together. In the 1950s women did not behave in such ways. It was considered immoral. A married woman did not live with another man.

"The Deep Blue Sea" takes place in a single day. The relationship between Hester and Freddie is about to hit a confrontional point. Emotions are going to fly. Resentments are going to be revealed. But love (for one of the characters) will not die.

One of the things which I like about "The Deep Blue Sea" is the screenplay by Davies. It feels like a literary British tragic love story. The movie has a blue hue casting over it in every seen. We can sense the despair between the lovers. We have all been in their situation. We have all been the person who loves someone who cannot love us the way we love them. We know the feeling of hurt inside you feel. In one sense this is the kind of material the movies has trained us to view as romantic. A story of a love that cannot be.

The other great thing about the movie is Rachel Weisz. So much of the film is on her shoulders. Tom Hiddleston is very good. What an amazing year he had in 2011. He appeared in Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" (2011) as Scott Fitzgerald, was in the comic book adaptation "Thor" (2011) and Steven Spielberg's "War Horse" (2011) but this is Weisz's show all the way. The look in her eyes, the tone of her voice, her every gesture reveals a woman deeply entranced. She looks at Freddie with awe and I gather desperation. As if she would do anything to keep her man. I would love it if Weisz were nominated for an Academy Award. It might be too early in the year for the Academy to be paying attention to this movie but Weisz performance commands your attention. She is a force on-screen.

I've liked Weisz in other movies; "The Constant Gardener" (2005) for which she won an Oscar, "The Fountain" (2006), "My Blueberry Nights" (2007) and the great Istvan Szabo film "Sunshine" (2000). But her performance here in "The Deep Blue Sea" may rank among her best.

Still there are things about the movie I didn't like. I wished we would have learned more about Freddie's and Hester's relationship. I wish we could have understood the mind-set of the Freddie character. Why is he not able to love her fully?

As I left the movie theatre I heard people chattering. A lot of people disliked the movie. As far as I could tell people had two reasons for not liking the movie 1) the movie is too depressing. 2) nothing happens.

When I hear people say "nothing happens in a movie" it usually irks me. Full disclosure, yes movie fans, "The Deep Blue Sea" has no dinosaurs chasing people, no alien invasion, no car chases. In that sense nothing happens. I've noticed when movies are emotion driven audiences describe them as "nothing happens". A lot is happening though. The characters are going on an emotional journey.

If you are the type of person who sometimes describes a movie has "nothing happens" "The Deep Blue Sea" won't be for you. Otherwise, those looking for an acting driven movie "The Deep Blue Sea" should work for you.