Why The 'Deep Water' Movie On Hulu Totally Took Me By Surprise

Deep Water Melinda Van Allen Ana de Armas Hulu
Claire Folger / 20th Century Studios

I almost did not watch “Deep Water” because of the bad reviews, which would have been a massive mistake. Once again, popular opinion cannot be entirely trusted to decide what makes for good movies or those worthy of watching. “Deep Water” is not everyone’s cup of tea. However, those with a taste for scorching sultry thrillers will want to stream the steamy movie.

In it, director Adrian Lyne makes his feature film return ten years after the critical and financial success of his 2002 hit “Unfaithful.” Lyne directed Diane Lane to an Oscar nomination for her performance. In “Deep Water,” Lyne provides a similarly steady hand to perpetual scene-stealer Ana de Armas, in a much different role than Lane’s. 

The team-up fits like a glove as Ben Affleck is as wwell-leveraged as Richard Gere was all those years ago for “Unfaithful.” For those wondering, “Deep Water” shares much in common with “Unfaithful,” including their central themes. Thus, making Adrian Lyne’s involvement a perfect fit. In it, Ana de Armas and Ben Affleck star as married parents in a strange one-sided open relationship.

Affleck’s Vic is painfully aware of his young wife’s myriad of extramarital affairs. Friends worry about the situation, and Vic is consumed by it. Vic frequently confronts her and pleads with his wife to stop, yet Ana de Armas’ Melinda refuses to stop seeing other men. Her response is quite the opposite. 

Melinda openly flaunts her dalliances in Vic’s face, and despite his consternation, he seems turned on by the whole sordid ordeal. If Vic were cool with it, that would be one thing. Melinda knows he is not and delights in torturing him with it, making her pretty freaking sick. “Deep Water” premiered on Hulu back in late March. 

It is a recently garnered opportunity to watch for those enjoying Hulu’s free trial or subscription. It was one of the many titles yours truly could not wait to see when it was released. Saving it for Saturday (aka the elite night of the week) proved patience does pay off. 

“Deep Water” is a murky morality tale that plays with the politics of marriage, infidelity, and how much a spouse must suffer before calling it quits. So, why were viewers so disconnected from it? One thing that probably put many of them off to “Deep Water” is how shallow it keeps viewers’ understanding of Vic and Melinda’s relationship. 

When did Melinda’s cheating start? Why does Vic put up with it? Is Melinda mentally ill or an illustration of pure evil? Does she have a bone of empathy in her body? Viewers are left to decide, and chances are deliberations will probably last well after the credits roll. “Deep Water” is a conversational piece that succeeds in telling a more compelling story than “Gone Girl.” 

As unpopular and polarizing as that opinion might be, it deserves stating, and unlike in that 2014 thriller, Ben Affleck seems more at ease and accessible in the Hulu original. Vic’s sweet relationship with his daughter is likely to thank for that. Vic’s aloofness and quiet resolve prove a strong fit for Affleck, who, aside from “Surviving Christmas,” most often benefits from a less is more approach to his characters.

Opposite Ben Affleck, Ana de Armas is disarming as ever, bringing her charisma to a role that ruthlessly requires it. The actress’ star has been on the rise for years now, and if she did not need anything else to boost her profile, de Armas got name-checked multiple times in the Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard trial. She deserves the mega-recognition, and “Deep Water” is more evidence of why that is true.

Armed with terrifically brooding cinematography, “Deep Water” looks the part of an intellectual yet steamy thriller. It calls to mind aspects of “Zandalee” and Zalman King classics “Two Moon Junction” and “Wild Orchid.” Louisiana plays the perfect backdrop as a character within itself that keeps the eye busy with its cinematic locales. 

Oh, and Vic and Melinda’s “The Hills”-style friend group makes for one of the more likable cliques that viewers have seen in a long time. It all amounts to more than simple mind candy. More than 24 hours after watching it, “Deep Water” continues to flood my thoughts. It twists just enough to make an older premise feel new, which is an impressive feat. 

Contrary to popular opinion, there is nothing shallow about this suspense film. If you are ready to dive into it, “Deep Water” is now streaming on Hulu.