Rachel Weisz in The Deep Blue Sea (2011)

Damaged Goods

"The Deep Blue Sea" starts with a scene; a nameless woman, although we will learn that she is Hester Collyer, places a rolled up rug at the base of her door, turns on the gas and lays down in the hope she will die. Why? Well the next scene shows her sitting serenely in a room with an older man who is at his desk, that man is her husband Sir William Collyer (Simon Russell Beale) and whilst you can sense she is fond of him there is distance between them and Hester looks depressed by the state of their loveless marriage. But surely that isn't enough to cause Hester to try and gas herself to death and it isn't as we then meet the young and handsome Freddie Page (Tom Hiddleston) who Hester has an affair with, giving her the physical affection lacking from her marriage. Surely finding happiness with another man isn't going to push you over the edge. Well Hester doesn't succeed in killing herself and what follows is an explanation as to why she wanted to.

That opening works as whilst it is intentionally disjointed it spikes your interest as to what is causing Hester to feel suicidal. Those opening scenes also give us two other things; a wonderful look as well as Rachel Weisz who as Hester finds the spirit of this woman. What is amazing is that during those opening scenes barely a word is spoken yet you can sense what Hester is feeling, the depression of her marriage, and the excitement of her affair thanks to Weisz's characterisation.

Simon Russell Beale in The Deep Blue Sea (2011)

Now what actually happens after this opening is in fairness interesting as what we have gathered is expanded upon. We come to learn that Sir William's mother disapproves of Hester and makes things as difficult as she can with her mocking way of speaking to her. We also learn that when it comes to Freddie things are not a bed of roses either as it appears he is damaged by war. It all works together to create an interesting movie about a woman who is racked with guilt and a sense of lost and plenty more.

The only trouble is that director Terence Davies has a style which is not going to be to everyone's taste. Those opening scenes are for the most silent with just some accompanying violins sounding overly dramatic. Then there are scenes which feel like they are part of a stage play, they have that small fake quality about them where actors are over projecting their voices to be heard whilst delivering dialogue which feels unnatural. And then there are artsy scenes, scenes which look pretty but do not feel like real life. The combination is at times frustrating and spoils the movie by being basically too manufactured, experimental and unnaturally artsy.

What this all boils down to is that "The Deep Blue Sea" has a good storyline and a brilliant performance from Rachel Weisz. But it has a style which frustrates the hell out of you as it ends up feeling over staged.