The Deep Blue Sea - Blu-ray Review

'there proves to be a huge lack of depth to the director's ocean of emptiness'

The title of this Rachel Weisz' staring trudge-fest refers to the final part of the phrase 'caught between the devil and...', which, as far as the film's plot is concerned, links back to dishy Tom Hiddleston and uptight bore Simon Russell Beale, the two lovers threatening to tear Weisz' Hester apart.

Whilst these two seem to literally be The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea in Hester's eyes, those two elements could actually be represented by two Terences; Rattigan and Davies, the latter serving as director on this adaptation of the former's play. Davies, who also wrote the treatment, seems to be in a constant war to jazz up the visuals and make the whole thing less stagy, yet never seems to go far enough. Chronology is toyed with for a time and then abandoned. A few varied locations are dabbled in but nothing larger than a tube platform: nothing that couldn't be done somewhere in the West End, with a bit of imagination.

Davies does manage to give the whole thing a sort of fusty Britishness, whilst retaining a festival-friendly arthouse poeticism. You can see why The Deep Blue Sea was picked to close The London Film Festival, last year. The opening scene - in a dingy flat with print wallpaper and archaic gas fire - looks lovely in its own way, and heralds the start of some ten minutes of wordless, visual, plot setting. You can't say that Davies hasn't tried and, in some areas, come across degrees of success.

Ultimately though there proves to be a huge lack of depth to the director's ocean of emptiness. Hester, for example, is never pinpointed, despite Weisz' fine work. Is she trodden-upon by the men in her life? A victim? Momentarily unhinged? Permanently mentally unstable? An irrational attention seeker? Struggling to recover from war wounds? Davies never even gets close to making conclusions and, from around the fifty-minute mark, his film starts to become a barely sustainable trudge towards empty melancholy.

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