|Directed by||Adrian Lyne|
|Based on||Deep Water|
by Patricia Highsmith
|Music by||Marco Beltrami|
Deep Water is a 2022 erotic psychological thriller film directed by Adrian Lyne, from a screenplay by Zach Helm and Sam Levinson, based on the 1957 novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith. The film stars Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas, with Tracy Letts, Lil Rel Howery, Dash Mihok, Finn Wittrock, Kristen Connolly, and Jacob Elordi appearing in supporting roles. It marks Lyne's return to filmmaking after a 20-year absence since his last film, Unfaithful (2002), and Disney's first erotic film in 28 years since Color of Night (not counting any from Miramax Films before 2010, nor those inherited from the 20th Century Fox catalog).
Deep Water was released on Hulu on March 18, 2022, following several delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It received mixed-to-negative reviews from critics.
Vic and Melinda Van Allen are a couple with a daughter, Trixie, living in the small town of Little Wesley, Louisiana. Vic is a retired robotics engineer, having amassed a great fortune developing the guidance chips used in combat drones. Their loveless marriage is held together only by a precarious arrangement whereby, in order to avoid the messiness of divorce, Melinda is allowed to take any number of lovers as long as she does not desert her family. Even then, their open marriage is made no secret amongst their friends, while Vic silently grows increasingly jealous of Melinda's lovers.
Melinda invites one of her lovers, musician Joel Dash, to a party. While alone with Joel, Vic tells him that he murdered her previous boyfriend, Martin McRae, who had disappeared a month earlier. The story floats around their social group, causing Joel to move away and raising the suspicions of Don Wilson, a writer who, along with his wife and daughter, is new to the town. It is later revealed on the TV news that Martin was found shot to death, thus proving that Vic did not actually kill him.
Melinda's next lover, piano teacher Charlie De Lisle, is invited to a pool party at the home of Vic's friend Jonas Fernandez; Melinda continuously flirts with and flaunts Charlie in front of all the party guests, making Vic increasingly jealous. While they play around in the pool, it begins raining and everyone rushes inside, leaving Vic and Charlie alone in the water. Melinda later discovers, to her horror, Charlie dead in the pool, apparently from drowning. Upon questioning by police, Melinda is quick to accuse Vic of murdering Charlie, further raising Don’s suspicions. With help from Melinda, Don secretly hires a private investigator, who later poses as a psychotherapist. Vic, however, is quick to uncover this plot and crashes a Wilson family lunch, accusing Don of his wrongdoings.
Sometime later, Melinda reunites with an old college boyfriend, Tony Cameron, whose flirtatious behaviour incites jealousy within Vic. Vic drives Tony into the woods alone, before pushing him off a rocky hill, killing him. Vic then sinks the body into a nearby creek. Some time later, Vic returns to the creek to retrieve Melinda's scarf from a picnic trip they had the previous day, but as he attempts to sink Tony's body further into the water, he is suddenly surprised by Don, who catches him in the act and then recklessly drives his car to flee for help with Vic in pursuit, but in the ensuing chaos Don accidentally swerves his car off a cliff, and is killed instantly upon impact.
At the same time, Melinda finds Tony's wallet with his identification in one of Vic's snail tanks, confirming Vic's knowledge of Tony's whereabouts. Melinda begins packing, intending to leave with their daughter, only to be defiantly confronted by Trixie to stay. After contemplating, Melinda burns Tony's id, suggesting she intends to stay with Vic as he returns home.
The project began development in 2013, with Adrian Lyne set to direct and Fox 2000 Pictures set to finance. Fox 2000 sold the rights to New Regency in 2018. In August 2019, the project saw new developments; Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas agreed to star, with Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures agreeing to handle the distribution via their 20th Century Studios label. In October 2019, Tracy Letts and Rachel Blanchard joined the cast of the film.
Filming began in New Orleans on November 4, 2019, with the additions of Dash Mihok, Lil Rel Howery, Jacob Elordi, Kristen Connolly, Jade Fernandez and Finn Wittrock to the cast. In December 2019, Michael Braun joined the cast of the film.
Deep Water was originally scheduled to be released on November 13, 2020, but was delayed to August 13, 2021, and again to January 14, 2022. On December 9, 2021, it was taken off the release schedule. Four days later, it was reported that the film would move to a Hulu-exclusive release in the United States and an Amazon Prime Video–exclusive release internationally. On February 14, 2022, it was announced that the film would be released on Hulu on March 18, 2022, and on Prime Video for a simultaneous international release.
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 37% of 208 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 5.00/10. The website's consensus reads, "Viewers desperately seeking a new erotic thriller might find Deep Water worth a dip, but it's far from director Adrian Lyne's best work." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 53 out of 100, based on 46 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
David Rooney at The Hollywood Reporter appreciated Lyne's return to filmmaking, but gave the film a negative review and wrote: "Lyne's take on the material, scripted without distinction by Zach Helm and Sam Levinson, manages to drain all the subtlety and psychological complexity from Highsmith's story of marital warfare, transgression and obsession."