For Reel

The Deep Blue Sea (2011)
March 26, 2012, 11:53 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Terence Davies

Adapted from Terence Rattigan’s 1952 play, The Deep Blue Sea is director Terence Davies’ first narrative feature in over a decade. His unabashed love for pre-1960s Hollywood is evident – though he still favors complex tracking shots and doesn’t tie himself to narrative chronology in the strictest sense, the leading role is very much familiar of the great women’s pictures of the 1940s. Rachel Weisz stars as Hester, a woman who is married to a much older man, William, played with remarkable sensitivity by Simon Russell Beale. Soon, Hester falls for a Royal Air Force pilot, Tom Hiddleston’s Freddie. With echoes of films like Mildred Pierce, Hester’s sexual identity is transformed with the arrival of the dashing young man in her life, and with her erotic awakening comes new, greater emotional stakes and romantic responsibilities. Even if it is not a film that is terribly swept up in romantic idealism, it nonetheless suggests the purest form of love – Davies’ lengthy, final confrontation argues that the most powerful demonstration of affection is the willingness and understanding to let someone go. If the narrative loses some of its momentum in the latter half – partially at the fault of Hiddleston’s character both in performance and on the page, as one never fully understands why Hester would continue to love him – Davies’ reliably awe-inspiring mise en scène is consistent throughout. There’s a terrific long take that examines a group of people who huddle together in a subway station as bombs are heard from above.

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