Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Video review: "The Deep Blue Sea"

Love triangles often make for scintillating cinematic tales, but "The Deep Blue Sea" is generally a dreadful bore. Despite a spot-on performance by Rachel Weisz as a tortured British woman dallying between two men, the best way to describe my reaction to this tale was colossal indifference.

I think the main problem is that, as written by writer/director Terence Davies (adapted from a play by Terence Rattigan), Hester Collyer (Weisz) is an unrelatable character. We don't care that she suffers. It's possible to make a movie centered around a person the audience dislikes, but not one who simply doesn't interest them.

Hester is married to a rich judge (Simon Russell Beale), but it's a passionless coupling. He shows up from time to time to try to lure her back, but Hester's heart belongs to Freddie Page (Tom Hiddleston), a penniless former pilot. Alas, Freddie doesn't care for her the way she does him.

So instead of a triangle based on competing loves, this movie is about a circle of unrequited affection. Each character loves another who doesn't love them, and in turn is adored by one they don't. "The Deep Blue Sea" is the story three rudderless ships passing in the night.

Extra features are plentiful and substantial. Director Davies supplies a feature-length audio commentary, and there are also interviews with him, Weisz and Hiddleston. There's also a collector's booklet, and a featurette on the lush, dark look of the film.

Movie: 1.5 stars out of four
Extras: 3 stars

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