Ana de Armas and Ben Affleck are having a blast in the comeback of sexy thriller king Adrian Lyne.
Here, Adrian Lyne! The man hadn’t heard from him since. Unfaithful, in 2002, twenty years ago all round. Wild formalist and former box-office champion, fellow traveler of the Ridley Scott/Alan Parker generation, responsible for at least two major aesthetic earthquakes in American cinema of the 80s and 90s (“the MTV aesthetic”, with flash dancethe “psycho-sexual” vogue, with Fatal Link), he returns to his cute sin, his favorite genre (at least the one with which it is associated), the erotic thriller, via this adaptation of a novel by Patricia Highsmith published in 1957, and already brought to the screen by Michel Deville in 1981, with Isabelle Huppert and Jean-Louis Trintignant.
Since 2002, the world has changed, the cinema too, but obviously not Adrian Lyne: his film is offered to us as an old-fashioned BCBG thriller, a little rogue, naughty and voyeur, in the tradition of Fatal Link and Indecent Proposal. Like a forgotten and vaguely guilty pleasure, pulled out of the limbo of our VHS years. The master of the place displays the color from the outset: the first scene of the film shows Ben Affleck returning home after a bike ride, and taking off his clothes to change – the fly of his pants makes a particularly sonorous “zip”, like a somewhat trivial signature effect… Set in Louisiana, the film describes the very twisted relationship within a rich couple played by Affleck and Ana de Armas: Madame panics good society by shamelessly displaying herself with her lovers in the society parties, cheating on her husband in full view of everyone, while Mr. attends this little circus, powerless, but surprisingly placid. We quickly realize that the many lovers of the woman have an annoying tendency to disappear without explanation or to die in strange circumstances… Funny plot, where everything seems to be done in broad daylight, infidelities like murders, without no member of this self-sufficient community seems to really care. This true-false suspense will lead to a rather twisted and immoral conclusion, and allows Lyne to explore again what will remain as the great subject of her filmo, including Nine and a half weeks was the most explicit expression: the share of sado-masochism inherent in the life of a couple.
If he is no longer the exalted stylist he was in his heyday, the director nevertheless demonstrates a certain vigor here, which manifests itself in the amusing cheeky details that punctuate the story, or the affirmation of eternal stylistic obsessions, always a little gratuitous – this stubbornness in filming water, in particular, raindrops on a car window at this pool party where good-natured hedonism suddenly takes on nightmarish airs, when the weather turns into a storm. That does not stop deep waterslike Unfaithful before him, to get lost in adventures sometimes so outrageous that they become grotesque, in particular in a last quarter of an hour in freewheel.
But the real attraction of the film are its two phenomenal headliners. Ben Affleck looks like he’s having a lot of fun in this twist on his character from Gone Girl : I’gay americanus without quality, a little nice, a little spineless, who made his fortune thanks to a morally questionable invention (computer chips having allowed the development of combat drones used by the army). He wanders around the film looking deceptively drowsy, suddenly revealing, at dusk, his build as a Batman ready to reduce his enemies to pulp. Ana de Armas, for her part, redeploys two hours during the senseless whirlwind of seduction of her appearance in the last james bond, in a more perverse, less ingenuous way. She is impressively energetic, constantly seeming to set the film to her own tempo, but above all ends up moving, letting little touches pierce through an abyssal despair under the aggressive exhibitionism shown by her character, this sort of overly theatrical nymphomania to be honest – a performance that makes you even more impatient to discover her as Marilyn in the Blonde hair by Andrew Dominick.
deep waters (Deep Water), by Adrian Lyne, with Ana de Armas, Ben Affleck, Tracy Letts… On Amazon Prime Video.