London Film Festival 2011: The Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies)

For his first feature in a decade, discounting the autobiographical documentary Of Time and the City, which aired on BBC three years ago, Terence chooses The Deep Blue Sea, an adaptation of the 1952 play by Terence Rattigan.

We are taken to post-wartime Britain, where the adulterous wife of a judge is caught attempting suicide. The cause? her realisation that the undying love she has for an R.A.F pilot is unmatched.

The film explores the destructive power of all-consuming love and the danger in love’s unknown imbalance.

Terence creates a beautifully composed period piece in soft focus, with all the romance and drama of classic 1950s British cinema such as Brief Encounter.

However, the luminous and captivating screen presence of Rachel Weisz as Hester, could not detract from the painful watch of the whimpering and pathetic character study the film became.

The slow-moving sequences of melodrama could not be accused of drifting far from the original text, but perhaps this was part of the problem. The film was firmly situated in the theatre in every way, only using the medium of cinema, as Davies said afterward, to linger on the emotions of the actors. However, this only served to draw out already tortured scenes of Hester sobbing by the fireplace.

Tom Hiddleston impressed as the alcoholic R.A.F pilot, angry and disgraced by Rachel Weisz’s erratic behaviour. 2010 proved a whirlwind year for the actor, kicking off his film career with Joanna Hogg’s stunning family drama Archipelago (if you haven’t seen it, DO IT NOW), then Allen’s Midnight in Paris, and due for release in January, Spielberg’s War Horse, which I am predicting to take home Oscar(s) – you heard it here first.

Anyway, back to The Deep Blue Sea, better left for the stage, Davies.

In cinemas November 25.

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