Saturday, October 29, 2011

London Film Fest 2011 Day 16 - THE DEEP BLUE SEA

Jolyon Coy (Philip), Kate Ogborn (producer), Tom Hiddleston (Freddie), 
Terence Davies (director and screenwriter), Sarah Kants (Liz), 
Harry Hadden-Paton (Jackie) at the premiere of THE DEEP BLUE SEA

This review is brought to you by Professor007, long missing from these pages, and a dutiful stand-in when Bina007 was struck down by cine-flu.

It is rare these days to find a movie that captivates one for its length. It is rarer still to find a movie that keeps one in its spell well beyond the hustle of the tube on the way back home.

Terrence Davies' adaptation of Terrence Rattigan's play The Deep Blue Sea is such a masterpiece. It is beautifully set in 1950s London, yet its topic is timeless. Hester (Rachel Weisz), a young and attractive woman of simple background, who is married to William (Simon Russell Beale), a distinguished man of law considerably her senior, falls in love with the young and handsome maverick Freddie (Tom Hiddleston). In Freddie, Hester seems to find the passion, lust, and physicality that she misses in her married life. Some months into the affair, however, William finds out and Hester decides to leave William and move in with her lover. Freddie, however, seems unprepared for such co-habitation: mentally stuck in his life as hero during World War II, he struggles to find a new focus in life, and is unable to emotionally care for anyone else than himself. Despite this lack of attention by Freddie and her husband's continued attempts to win her back, Hester's love for Freddie is unbroken. She does not, however, get the committed and passionate relationship she so desires, and with every increasingly desperate failed attempt to win Freddie over, she degrades herself more and more.

What is striking in its sadness and yet utter plausibility is how the behaviour of three people, of which neither is spiteful or keen to hurt the other ones, can lead to such pain and misfortune. Rachel Weisz beautifully portrays a woman who, in her attempt to find love and passion, knowingly destroys her life. William, excellently played by Simon Russell Beale, tries to win her back, but is too restrained by his upbringing to show the emotions his wife may be longing for so much. Finally, Freddie is a man who struggles with the void of purpose in his life and at the same time is overwhelmed by the passion of his lover.

To me, an oscar candidate for best movie, best actress and best supporting actor. On vera.

THE DEEP BLUE SEA played Toronto, San Sebastian and London 2011. It will be released in the UK on November 25th and the US in December.

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