Thursday, 1 December 2011
FRIDAY BOY FILM CLUB...Terence Rattigan/Terence Davies - The Deep Blue Sea - hype over substance
It's usually a bad sign when the story opens with what appears to be a grim ending. As we know the outcome from the start, the author/director is going to have to work pretty hard to get us interested enough in the characters to care about their fates and watch their impending doom for the next 90 minutes. It didn't happen.
Of course, the story is relevant to our time, but it simply isn't all that interesting nor told particularly well. The beautiful young Hester (Rachel Weisz) is bored by her marriage to an old-before-his-time William (Simon Russell Beale). Prone to suicidal impulses, she has an affair with dashing ex-RAF chap, Freddie (Tom Hiddleston). But it all progresses, with much smoking and cellos in a minor key (cliche), to end, all too predictably, in tears. End of story.
The cinematography is pleasant but I couldn't find much else to like. The pace is horribly slow; when someone speaks there is usually a 5-second pause before there is a response. The acting never rises above the average and always looks like acting. There is a complete lack of chemistry, let alone passion, between Hester and her lover, while Beale's character looks as if he has escaped from a Chekhov play. The sets are more 1930s than 1950s, and there are some dreadfully hackneyed portrayals of Londoners, singing their hearts out in the 'local' or huddling silently in the tube station as the Luftwaffe's bombs rain down from above. We even get a hint of Anna Karenina as the tortured Hester looks meaningfully at the beckoning railway lines.
But this is more like Leslie Howard meets Nigella Lawson in Brief Encounter with added sex! The Deep Blue Sea is a million miles from the masterpieces of Coward and Tolstoy. It's almost enough to make you want a cigarette.
Showing at the TYNESIDE CINEMA, Newcastle.