Saturday 7 July 2018

The Deep Blue Sea

(Not to be confused with that nonsense about a mad shark!)
This is a harrowing tale of love and discontentment, of fiery passion and traditional expectation, of moving sadness, depression and desperation. It's about Hester Collyer, wife of respected Judge, Sir William, who becomes disengaged with the trappings of a privileged existence and having to fulfil her expected role, in post WWII London.

Hester meets WWII Pilot Freddie Page and falls madly and destructively in love with him. Destructive because as it turns out, passionate and madly in love they may be, he is wildly unhappy too, being unemployed and nursing a damaged self-worth which his valued role as a Pilot brought during the war.

The story unfolds with the husband finding out about the affair, the fallout because of that, the self-imposed exile from wealth and position which she chooses and the ordinary life which she and Freddie set up for themselves, until forces stronger than their passion and love take charge. As things develop, it becomes clear that something has to give, and give it does.

Rachel Weisz plays Hester beautifully. I've not seen her acting so well in anything else. She is as convincing in this role as anyone could have been. Each time I see Tom Hiddleston these days, it seems to be in a film in which he performs better than the last. His depiction of the Pilot is a delight to watch as the emotions flood out from him in scene after scene. Russell Beale plays the Judge with passion, sympathy and damped-down emotion, reflecting the character's sadness dealing lovingly with events outwith his control.

Terence Davies directs with style and class. The sets of 1950's London and flashbacks during WWII are atmospheric and dour reflecting London in the era. Smoke-filled venues, rationing, poor housing, patterned wallpaper and limited opportunity. The haunting violin music adds to the feast along with soundtrack songs of the day from the likes of Jo Stafford and Eddie Fisher.

It's a slow-burner of a film, but the acting, story line, direction and script moves it along nicely, engaging fully with the audience. The final scene is worth the wait as the cast pull together a wonderfully acted finale, which will live in the memory for time to come. A super little film, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Recommended.

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