|Review: The Deep Blue Sea|
|Written by Selina Pearson|
|Friday, 25 November 2011 06:19|
Director: Terence Davies
Writer-director Terence Davies takes on Terence Rattigan's play of love, obsession and infidelity. It opens in post-war London with Hester Collyer (Weisz) failing to kill himself (we're all familiar with the hassles of using a coin-operated gas meter). But just in case we're not feeling suicidal enough, Davies decides this is the perfect opportunity to inflict upon us a dire montage of Hester's relationship with childish ex-RAF pilot Freddie Page (Hiddleston). All scored with Samuel Barber's Concerto for Violin.
A substantial portion of the film is flashback, as Hester leaves her aristocratic husband Judge William Collyer (Beale) and begins her fraternising with Freddie. But most scenes are attempting to convey a mood rather than a story - someone singing in a pub, someone else singing in a tube station. This is very much London (and Freddie) recovering from the war. And the constant singing.
One problem with this is that despite the dramatic changes that Davies has made to the play, the film feels very, very stagey. Each of the scenes looks like it has been set up and filmed as if it were in the theatre. The same is true of the acting, which in places is overly expressive and unconvincing. Rachel Weisz is believable as the damaged Hester, torn between two men, and Russell Beale is endearing as the caring and compassionate husband, but the problem is Hiddleston's manchild ex-pilot. Is it dated dialogue? His inability to deliver it convincingly? Whatever, it doesn't work.
Add to this the endless screeching of Samuel Barber's concerto for violin. The music has no doubt been chosen in order to convey tragic romance - possibly in a move to emulate the use of Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto no. 2 in Brief Encounter - but it's too much. Davies relies on it constantly to convey the story. It doesn't. It merely distracts and infuriates.
The Deep Blue Sea is meant to be moving and tragic. It's mostly just annoying.
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