Film Review: The Deep Blue Sea

Less sharks but better scripted than its almost namesake, Terence Davies’ period drama offers more in visual style than it does in emotion.

Hester attempts to commit suicide. As she lies on the floor waiting for the gas to take affect, Hester looks back as what has lead her to this point. Married to William, a high court judge, Hester embarks on an affair with Freddie, a former pilot who served during the war…

Based on Terence Rattigan’s play, The Deep Blue Sea relies on flashbacks to tell the story of a woman who attempts to commit suicide. The themes of love, adultery and heartbreak abound, yet there is a curious lack of emotion. There is a certain empathy with the main players, but this not translate into any stronger concern about them. A film such as this should be more emotive, yet the climax may leave viewers feeling cold.

Where The Deep Blue Sea does excel is in the beautiful visuals. The cinematography is great; there is some wonderful composition and hues are befitting the tone of the film. The Deep Blue Sea captures the 1950 setting perfectly. The sets, costumes and props reproduce the period superbly.

The performances by Tom Hiddleston as Freddie and Simon Russell Beale as William are entirely convincing. As Hester, Rachel Weisz is less so. Although she is perfect for the character in terms of appearance, at times her delivery feels too drawn out.

The Deep Blue Sea offer a type of visual engorgement that is not replicated in the depth of feeling.

The Deep Blue Sea is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2011.