Now on Blu-ray and DVD: THE DEEP BLUE SEA Dives to the Edge of Despair
Rachel Weisz inhabits the depressed mind and broken soul of Hester Collyer, a woman on the edge of despair, in Terence Davies' The Deep Blue Sea.
Hester is married to an older, distinguished, and very proper gentleman (Simon Russell Beale) in post-WWII England. She enjoys a materially comfortable lifestyle, but it's a hermetic existence, its boundaries enforced by the conventions of society. She begins an affair with a high-spirited former RAF pilot (Tom Hiddleston), but he has limitations of his own. The affair becomes a stranglehold.
As my colleague Jim Tudor observed in his review of the theatrical release:
The Deep Blue Sea is simply, perhaps appropriately, remote like Hester's judge husband. The vibe is a catch-22. On one hand the hardened emotional atmosphere of post-war England is definitely felt. But on the other hand, we're left with very few handles to hang onto. I'm not demanding that Davies' film be an easy one, or even altogether relatable, but merely a wee bit more open.
After noting that Davies' film is based on a play by the highly-esteemed Terence Rattigan, Jim concluded:
This version of Rattigan's story may not have affected me as perhaps it has affected many others during its overseas theatrical run, but Davies' choice of on-screen talent as well as his intensely stirring visuals are impossible to look away from. Likewise, his use of sound is subtly beyond that of the ordinary. A group singing gives way to a recorded source playback of the same song. During a long somber flashback of the blitz, a freshly shell-shocked horde of civilians sing the evocative "Molly Malone". A "real" moment, no, but it is a real filmic one. With this, as competent as it is, being Davies' first narrative feature since 2000's The House of Mirth, I suppose a good deal of the austereness can be forgiven. And, despite my complaints, I nevertheless claim that the performances are solid, all around.
My feelings about the film are very similar. The performances, especially the stirring, heartfelt one by Weisz, are very strong and on-point, but, ultimately, it feels like a film to be admired rather than enjoyed (if that were even possible, in view of the subject matter). Still, it's elegantly crafted and finely-wrought, a drama that dives very deep beneath the surface.
The Deep Blue Sea is now available to watch via various Video On Demand platforms (Amazon, iTunes, Vudu). It is available on Region A Blu-ray and Region 1 DVD from Music Box Films.
(Note: my DVD screener copy did not include the extras or other features that should be included on the copies available for sale or rental.)
- Collector's Booklet
- Audio Commentary
- Interviews with Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston, and Terence Davies
- Terence Davies' Master Class
- The Look of The Deep Blue Sea