I adore Terence Davies, he makes films that are almost exquisite paintings, beautiful to look at and rarely anything less than an absolute joy to watch. So of course very excited by the news that he was directing the classic Terrence Rattigan play complete with Rachel Weisz, who seems to be going from strength to strength and doesn’t annoy me anything like as much as she used to. And it was picked to close the festival – perfect, there would be free chocolate too.
The Deep Blue Sea is undeniably lovely to look at, Davies daubs his scenes in rich muted colours giving a real sense of the post-war period. It’s dark and evocative and a bit dangerous – it should have been mesmerising. But it isn’t, it’s a bit fur coat and no knickers, as my gran would have said.
I think it’s that age old problem of translating from the stage – it’s hard to bring life to something that has been conceived as a play on the big screen no matter how stunning you make it look. Weisz tries her best but the flames of passion between Hester and Freddie (played by Tom Hiddleston) have long spluttered out and it’s hard to imagine that they were there at all – neither character really give us a sense of the passion that has supposedly driven them to such extremes and the one sex scene between them is strangely sterile. Freddie just seems a bit immature and annoying to me. He’s no Ryan Gosling, frankly. It’s also hard too to understand why Hester ever married William, Simon Russell Beale doesn’t really instil him with any sort of magnetism, he’s just an old grump. Which all makes Hester look a bit more histrionic than tortured and it’s hard to care much whether she sticks her head in the gas oven or not.
It made me sad not to love it though. I had to come home and watch Of Time and the City again to remind me what a god Davies is. Now there’s a film.