“Between the devil and the deep blue sea” originated in the Bible and has been a universal phrase throughout history; its major implication addresses a choice. Beautifully acted, but a morale depressant. “The Deep Blue Sea” revolves around “Hester" and her choice; Rachel Weisz imbues Hester with the intensity needed to portray a woman so blindly, passionately in love, forsaking everything to bask in the aura of her obsession: “Freddie” (Tom Hiddleston, F. Scott Fitzgerald in “Midnight in Paris”) a beautiful, rum -guzzling, fun- seeking boy with the intellectual depth of a puddle after a five minute mist.
Director Terence Davies bases the scenario on the 1952 play by Terence Rattigan of the same title. Dreary, soggy London in 1950. All the characters are informed by WWII; Freddie peaked in 1940, still savoring religiously his military feats; Lady Hester, in a loveless marriage with a dignified, older, titled judge, (“William”, Simon Russell Beale); witnessing her tortured psyche, wondering who she was before plunging recklessly, dashing all dignity, into the mire of paralyzing, hypnotic, numbing passion; her love for Freddie erased the past; her existence, her heart and her soul are defined by his presence, she is lifeless in his absence. The power of the film lies in questioning when love no longer ennobles, becomes lethal, empowering it to destroy, transform, maim the giver; suffocate, enervate the recipient.
To brighten and enlighten the lugubrious mood of the film, a lustful, “lushful” rollicking, nostalgic tavern scene where all wobbled and warbled to Jo Stafford’s “You Belong To Me”; could there ever be a more physically perfect pair than Hester and Freddie?
Another ubiquitous expression “tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all” (Alfred Lord Tennyson). “The Deep Blue Sea” disturbingly ponders Hester’s answer and choice.
TWO & 1/2 STARS!!