THE DEEP BLUE SEA (Terence Davies, 2011)
DEEP BLUE SEA opens with Hester Collyer (Rachel Weisz) reading the
suicide note she’s left for her lover, Royal Air Force pilot Freddie
Page (Tom Hiddleston). While her passion for him is as intense as ever,
she can no longer stand the imbalance in their feelings for one
another. Hester’s attempt is unsuccessful and does her no harm, but
considering the place and time--London, around 1950--the act itself
could get her in a great deal of trouble as attempted suicide is a
crime. Although Hester’s husband Sir William Collyer (Simon Russell
Beale) was deeply hurt when she left him for his younger friend and
refuses to grant her a divorce, he shows no indication of wishing to use
her bid to end her life or his position as a judge to gain revenge.
being revived Hester lingers in a daze in her rented flat reflecting on
the events that brought her to the point of preferring death to the
pain of her unmatched fervency for Freddie. She makes a desperate pitch
to elicit the desired response she wants from him but is resigned to
knowing she will always need him more.
Hester tries to hold onto the ephemeral remains of what once existed in
her relationships, THE DEEP BLUE SEA is lit so as to catch the dust in
the air, the smoke from her cigarettes, and the breath on a chilly
night. While visible, those fleeting byproducts can never again return
to what they were. Florian Hoffmeister’s painterly cinematography wraps
the film in a shroud. What’s gone is gone, and Hester inhabits the
wreckage of her choices just as Londoners get on with life among the
destruction and ruins from World War II.
becomes malignant when it is dampened or when it mutates into lust in
writer-director Terence Davies’ adaptation of Terence Rattigan’s play.
Per William’s mother (Barbara Jefford) extolling the virtues of guarded
enthusiasm over passion, his affection for Hester is kept at a polite
remove. Hester requires ardor in her relationships, even if it is not
reciprocated, and is willing to chuck comfortable but cool certainty
with William for the heat of carnal attraction to Freddie.
is trapped between a rock and a hard place. Neither William nor
Freddie can supply or share the acute emotion that sustains her.
Weisz’s sensitive and finely modulated embodiment of yearning and
torment speaks of the internal decay that has taken root in Hester. The
character is a victim of her own decisions, but Weisz’s bruised
performance in THE DEEP BLUE SEA yields empathy for being battered by