Review: The Deep Blue Sea (2011)

the deep blue sea

A melancholy trip through the dangers of love!

Adaptation By: Terence Davies
Directed By: Terence Davies

Love is the great hope in movies. If cinema has taught me anything it’s that love conquers all. With love in tow a couple can remove all obstacles from their path and take on the world in new and interesting ways. Relationships that shouldn’t work become grandiose affairs due to love. In film after film love is the problem solver, the table setter, and a reason for happiness. In The Deep Blue Sea love is treated much differently. It’s a dangerous weapon, far more dangerous than any war. People can be destroyed by love, their lives ripped apart, and they find only a wistful existence due to their love.

What I’ve just described is quite melancholic. The Deep Blue Sea is one of those movies that is seductive. The tool of its seduction is the melancholic tone the film adopts from the very start. The melancholy in The Deep Blue Sea is presented in a swirling fashion. It’s an emotion from which Hester cannot escape. Her life is spinning out of control, but not in a maddening fashion. There’s no quick cuts or fast paced montages to show how out of control her life has become. Terence Davies employs a slow and reserved approach to the depression of his lead actress. She’s in love, the world should be her oyster. It isn’t, and The Deep Blue Sea takes its time showing how far removed she is from being in control of her surroundings.

Oddly, there is hope to be found in The Deep Blue Sea. I’ll readily admit that I had to spend some deal of time thinking about the ending. Hester drawing back the curtains and being enveloped by light leans towards hopeful in a way that at first seemed at odds with the rest of the picture. After some heavy thinking I realized I was being too narrow minded about the light from outside enveloping Hester. Love is not carefee in The Deep Blue Sea, it is as described a great danger. Hester has lost her love, but now she is free. In Mr. Davies’ film the loss of love is what has brought happiness. The light is now shining upon Hester because she can finally breathe thanks to the relief she has been given from her oppressive and all consuming love.

I do believe Mr. Davies has crafted a film about the dangers of love. That’s not the same as him presenting a film that is anti-love. The Deep Blue Sea is actually reaffirming in its presentation of love. I read the film as being about finding the right kind of love. A relationship can be full of love, yet still be destructive and bad for the parties involved. Love is a great and powerful emotion, it can inspire and bring many great tidings. That love is healthy, and that’s what The Deep Blue Sea is espousing, the need to find healthy love.

Florian Hoffmeister’s cinematography is impeccable in The Deep Blue Sea. The best word I can think of to describe the visuals of the film is rich. There’s a lot to take in as far as the visuals of the film are concerned. Blue hues and brown colored pubs offer a visual disparity that is pleasing yet alarming to the eye. Mr. Davies compliments the cinematography splendidly with his directorial choices. He’s not so passive that he doesn’t insert himself upon the film, but he does allow for the film to remain organic. The key to this is the way he lingers on his actors. Mr. Davies lets his actors do what they do best, act, emote, and emotionally involve the audience.

A few cinephiles whose opinions I value have been very high on The Deep Blue Sea. I was right to place my trust in their opinions. The Deep Blue Sea is a wonderful film; alarming, dangerous, and beautiful all at the same time. It’s melancholic in tone, and presents a florid atmosphere that is easy to get swept up in. Mr. Davies’ film is depressing and uplifting at the same time. The Deep Blue Sea is many things, and one of those is a great, and criminally underseen, film.



Bill Thompson

5 responses to “Review: The Deep Blue Sea (2011)

  1. Weisz was great in this and definitely makes it watchable. Not that Hiddleston isn’t fun either, but it’s clear that her performance is the more showier of the two. Good review Bill.

  2. I adore this movie! Maybe my favorite of that year. Lovely write-up – I particularly appreciate how you describe it as “alarming, dangerous, and beautiful.”

  3. Rok – Interesting that you would describe her performance as showy. I do think she puts a lot into the performance, but I also felt she was very reserved and holding back to make sure her performance wasn’t too showy.

    Melissa – Thanks, and I thought I recalled you really digging this movie.

  4. Nice review really, i have watched this film and its a worth of watching …

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