Romantic drama, set in post World War II Britain, about a High Court judge's wife (Rachel Weisz) who abandons her privileged life to embark on an affair with an Air Force pilot (Tom Hiddleston). Based on Terence Rattigan's play. Now playing natinowide.
Intensely romantic, with sweeping orchestrals and lingering moments of despair, The Deep Blue Sea will sort the lovers from the cynics in a heartbeat.
Not to be confused with a silly shark movie, Terence Davies' film adaptation of Terence Rattigan's play is a very different kind of cinematic experience. That it feels for much of the film like watching a piece of theatre unfold on screen is jarring at first. The sparse, deliberate script and focus on the turmoil of the central characters, a style reminiscent of old-fashioned weepies, initially feels earnest and indulgent, and threatens to turn this serious piece of work into a laughing stock.
But like a piece of unfamiliar music, the film's unique rhythm soon takes over. Not a single word is superfluous. And with so much dependent on the lines, it's all the more riveting to read between them. Davies also keeps the viewer guessing with a narrative that alternates between present tense and reverie.
The deeply sensitive character of Hester might easily have fallen into schmaltzy territory in the wrong hands, and although there are times you'll want to shake the self-pity out of her, Rachel Weisz gives a powerful, intelligent performance as a privileged woman discovering erotic love and its painful consequences. Her honesty with Sir William, her quietly stoic, cuckolded husband, played by Simon Russell Beale, is heart-breaking. Only Tom Hiddleston as the unpredictable Freddie Page, an RAF pilot who demands freedom within his relationship with Hester, occasionally pushes his character to a few overly theatrical extremes.
The impossible nature of this love triangle is all the more poignant in its post-war setting, a time of confusion, loss and deprivation. Cinematographer Florian Hoffmeister creates a dreary, shadowy London atmosphere that complements the characters' emotions. Though its source material is of another era, this is a timeless tale of lust that should see Weisz win another Oscar.