Wednesday, 12 August 2015

I've Just Seen: The Deep Blue Sea (2011)

The Deep Blue Sea (2011)
Director: Terence Davis

The title of this film refers to the situation Hester Collyer finds herself in during this film: she is trapped between the Devil and the deep blue sea. She loves Freddie, a lively ex-RAF pilot who has awakened passion and desire in her - the strength of which he doesn't share. He is the metaphorical Devil, who drives Hester towards suicide because of his relative carelessness (not a spoiler, it happens in the opening sequence). The deep blue sea is Hester's husband, judge Sir William Collyer, who is caring and kind (a fact Hester is highly aware of), yet excites no passion in his wife.

Plots like this run the risk of seeming melodramatic (which, for me at least, can be a problem); why doesn't Hester just rid herself of both men and start again? Or simply get over it, and stay with her husband, who does care for her? The film, and I presume the Terrence Rattigan play it is based on, have Hester answer these questions herself. For her, the passion she has discovered is essential for living; now she has tasted it, everything else is bland by comparison.

The Deep Blue Sea was filmed on actual film stock, with slightly saturated colours, evoking the melodramas of Sirk: it looks with beautiful. However, it is acted with greater subtly than those pictures, with Weisz giving one of the best performances of her career. She is also supported by Tom Hiddleston and Simon Russell Beale, and has good chemistry with both. The pace is a times languid, and the film is non-linear: though technically taking place over one day, Hester's birthday, we get flashbacks to important points in the affair and Hester's marriage.

Davis' film is a quiet yet wonderfully acted drama that explores the complex world of female sexuality. It manages to break-out of its stage origins, while maintaining the constricted environment Hester finds herself in.

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