The Deep Blue Sea: review

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The Deep Blue Sea

Lushly nostalgic and heartbreaking, the films of British director Terence Davies are a singular journey into solitude – his latest, from Terence Rattigan’s 1952 play, arrives under an especially apt title. After only six fiction features, Davies has staked out a subterranean psychology: forwardly gay, openly torn and just short of miserable. 

The Deep Blue Sea (Amor Profundo in Portuguese) is as good an introduction as one could have. Set during the transitional era Davies prefers – post-WWII London – the story follows a trio of disconnecting lovers: suicidal Hester (Weisz) is drifting from her remote husband, a judge (Beale). Meanwhile, Royal Air Force pilot Freddie (Hiddleston) grabs Hester’s affection, then rejects it.

It’s the stuff of melodrama, heightened by Davies’s pitch-perfect use of pop songs, like a sad ‘You Belong to Me,’ slurred by a misty crowd in a bar. The imagery, courtesy of German cinematographer Florian Hoffmeister, is a touch too dark and redundant – watch a Davies effort like The Long Day Closes (1992) and you’ll appreciate his way with a shaft of mote-laden sunlight.

But the filmmaker is fully on top of his game with his performances, not only from the Oscar-winning Weisz but from the revelatory Hiddleston, who invests Freddie with an emotional openness that improves on the source material. Happiness is not in the cards; exquisite separation, however, can be gripping in itself.

By Joshua Rothkopf

The Deep Blue Sea: review video

The Deep Blue Sea: review details

Length 98 minutes

Country of origin USA and UK

Year of production 2011

Classification Not available

Opens 10 May 2013

Director Terence Davies

Cast Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston, Simon Russell Beale.


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