‘Deep Water’ Movie Review: Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas Erotic Thriller Is Tedious

Deep Water has a strong cast led by Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas coupled with an amusing plot, but it fails to deliver on what it promises. Fatal Attraction filmmaker Adrian Lyne directs a screenplay written by Zach Helm and Sam Levinson. However, the final product is a far cry from the thrilling eroticism that it teases. Deep Water could have been more than it is.

‘Deep Water’ is a marital drama mixed with an erotic thriller

'Deep Water' Ben Affleck as Vic Van Allen wearing a suit with a picture behind him
Ben Affleck as Vic Van Allen | 20th Century Studios

Vic (Affleck) and Melinda Van Allen (de Armas) are a married couple who have fallen out of love. They raise their young daughter, Trixie (Grace Jenkins), but they’re simply going through the motions. Melinda seeks to get what she can’t get from her husband with other men, calling them her “friends” before introducing them to her family and friends.

Deep Water finds Vic growing tired of his wife’s mind games. When one of Melinda’s previous “friends” suddenly goes missing, Vic jokes that he killed him. As a result, their social circles begin to talk about how he might not actually be teasing. Vic and Melinda’s erotic games continue to result in dangerous stakes for those around them.

Director Adrian Lyne speaks on passion in male and female sexualities

Melinda grows increasingly frustrated with her domestic life with Vic and Trixie, but she takes it out on her interactions with them. Meanwhile, Vic desires to keep that family life and is willing to do whatever it takes to keep it. However, their desires in life are progressively growing apart, as she pursues passion over stability. Their perceptions of male and female sexualities play into their games.

Deep Water finds the couple regularly interacting with their social circles at fancy parties. However, these events only exacerbate their situation, as other guests notice their uncomfortable tension. Vic and Melinda begin to pick out one another’s flaws. This includes him no longer possessing her desired sense of masculinity, as well as her unrefined palette that reminds Vic of a “12-year-old.”

However, this marital drama doesn’t turn into an erotic thriller until Melinda’s “friends” begin to intrude on her family’s social life. Vic accrued his wealth by creating the chip that goes inside of drones that ultimately resulted in many deaths. Much like his professional life, he fails to take responsibility for his marriage. As a result, his jealousy continues to fester behind his calm front.

There isn’t anything steamy about the eroticism in ‘Deep Water’

'Deep Water' Ana de Armas as Melinda Van Allen and Ben Affleck as Vic Van Allen sitting on a couch looking at each other
L-R: Ana de Armas as Melinda Van Allen and Ben Affleck as Vic Van Allen | Claire Folger/20th Century Studios

Lyne primarily tries to seduce the viewer in Deep Water with Vic and Melinda’s livelihood. They have more than enough money, a gorgeous home, and a buzzing social life. She talks about some of her sexual encounters, which Vic occasionally bears witness to. However, the film never seduces the audience with its drama, eroticism, or thriller components.

Vic’s growing frustration is very apparent through Affleck’s performance, as he constantly has a look of disgust and disappointment on his face. De Armas infuses Melinda with diverse and nuanced emotion. It’s just a shame that both of the characters are innately insufferable. It’s difficult to really root for either of them or to care about their marital issues.

Deep Water is a misfire of an erotic thriller. Affleck and de Armas‘ casting will surely hook audiences in, but it fails to captivate past that. There isn’t anything particularly seductive about the movie that entices the viewer in Vic and Melinda’s marital drama. If it was trying to go for trashy entertainment value, the sub-genre allowed the movie to push the envelope so much further.

Deep Water lands on Hulu on March 18.

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