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The deepest blues
The Deep Blue Sea
Set in 1950s London, The Deep Blue Sea is written and directed by Terence Davies. It stars Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz who plays Hestor Collyer, a confused wife of high court judge Sir William Collyer, played by Simon Russell Beale.
Hestor has fallen in love with another man, an ex-RAF pilot named Freddie Page, played by Tom Hiddleston. This intense relationship is passionate, seductive and exciting – all the elements that were lacking in her marriage to Sir William Collyer. Additionally, Sir William is not his own man. We see evidence of this when Sir William is trying to keep a broken and frayed relationship between Hestor, his wife, and Sir William’s mother from getting any worse. This also indicates the lack of passion and intensity that Hestor is craving in what seems to be a rather dull and stagnant marriage.
Hestor looks for escapism and finds it in her affair with Page. Much to the surprise of her friends, she walks out on her marriage and moves in with him. Unfortunately not all is what it seems; her sadness seeps further into depression. She finds that love is not always perfect, and can be unrequited. When reality sinks in, Hestor must cope with her melancholy and depression – and face her demons.
This film provides many wonderful examples of craftsmanship and artistry. Weisz plays Hestor with a fantastic intensity and depth. Moreover, Simon Russell Beale plays a wonderfully resilient, likeable but sullen and repressed husband.
In addition, Hiddleston plays a petulant child trapped in a man’s body, but his appeal is that he enthuses confidence and has a zest for life; this attracts Hestor, and hooks her in. But as the story unfolds, it is clearly not enough.
This story is layered in complexity, real-life emotion and contains well-developed characters. The feel of ‘not everything is what it seems’ lingers throughout the film. The film intrigues; it invites the viewer to peel back the layers as the film unfolds.
The title of the film originates from the old saying: ‘stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea’ – whom should Hestor choose? This is referenced only once in the film with a well-achieved subtlety that Davies uses throughout.
The soundtrack adds further elements to the film; an old-fashioned orchestrated piece provides much needed drama and intensity to many of the scenes and, conversely, it provides dreaminess and romance to others.
The film is brilliantly written - based on the1952 play by Terrence Rattigan - and the dialogue appears real and tastefully done. Many of the scenes indicate enough for us to be hooked and stay focused. However, if bleak subject matter and intensity is not your thing, then this film could be deemed as rather pedestrian. Its slow-pace, subtleness and lingering dreaminess may not be for some. But if you like a little more depth, then The Deep Blue Sea is a beautifully crafted film that will make you think and ponder. I found it very memorable.
**** (4 stars)
By Luke Pivac
14 May 2012