S1: I tell you my secret.
S2: Now I see. Charlotte greatest.
S2: No, I am far.
S1: What’s in the past.
S2: Yo. My God, you’re blowing up.
S1: Damn, you old.
S3: Hello. I’m Dana Stevens, Slate’s movie critic. Here with another Slate spoiler special, we are here today to Spoil Deep Water, the new erotic thriller from British director Adrian Lynn, he of Unfaithful. Give me some titles, guys. Flashdance. Fatal Attraction.
S1: Nine and a half weeks.
S3: Nine and a half weeks. Right. The erotic thriller that started it all. I am joined today by Slate features director Jeffrey Bloomer. Hey, Jeff.
S4: Hi, Dana.
S3: And also from Washington, D.C., by Slate senior writer Dan Kois. Hello, Dan.
S1: Hello, everyone.
S3: So, as I usually do, before we get to digging into the details of Deep Waters plot, I just want to ask what both of you thought of it. I noticed going on Rotten Tomatoes that I’m an outlier here. I gave this movie What Rotten Tomatoes calls a fresh review, although to some degree I loved it because of its delicious badness. But its general rating on Rotten Tomatoes right now is 36%, which is not very promising. So I’m really curious, both of you, Jeff and Dan, what did you think of deep water overall? Dan, I’ll start with you.
S1: I believe Deep Water is a fantastic movie to watch with a person you hate while drunk.
S3: Why a person you hate with a drug part I think I get it’s.
S1: Just a more successfully mirror the relationship at its center. Hmm.
S3: Yeah. You have to watch it with someone with whom you have a complex, twisted, you know, years of kind of, you know, erotic hatred. Right.
S1: That’s the ideal scenario if you have someone like that in your life.
S3: Exactly. With your own personal ana de Armas or Ben Affleck. Jeffrey, what about you, pro or con?
S4: I’m pro, but it is very bad. I mean, I love Adrian Lyne in some of his movies. I love like actually. But this one is it’s a disaster. But it is extremely fun. Yes. Especially if you’re most of the way through a bottle of wine.
S3: Yeah. And it did go straight to what we would have called straight to video back in the old Adrian Lyne days. Right. But straight to to Hulu streaming. So it is that kind of kick back and watch it at home. You know, your expectations may not have to be that high kind of movie.
S4: Yeah, totally. We should discuss that too, because I have a conspiracy theory about what’s really going on with this movie and why there’s no promotion of it.
S1: I have so many thoughts about that as well.
S3: Well, maybe we should do a little bit of background on kind of the production history of this movie, because it’s been on the shelf throughout the pandemic, as I understand. Right. It was filmed before the pandemic ever started. It’s also been in development in some way, this adaptation of a Patricia Highsmith novel called Deep Water since 2013. So there’s something curiously retro about this movie, which, depending on how you feel about dated erotic thrillers, could be something good or something bad. But go ahead. Just give us give us your production history theory before we get into the movie itself.
S4: So we know that the leads of this movie, Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas, were a couple briefly. And this is before the Ben Affleck and J.Lo reunion. And I kind of think that this got delayed because of the pandemic, supposedly for a while. But I think that just everyone had no appetite to actually promote this. And also Disney had bought you know, bought 20th Century Fox, now just 20th century. And like it was an inherited movie. And Disney hasn’t released an Iraq thriller in decades. And I think that, like, everyone was just sort of happy not to promote this at all.
S1: Right. And I think De Armas and Affleck are not interested in revisiting the relationship that gave birth to this movie. In a way, they’re hot and heavy moment is one of the reasons this movie exists. And they were in that brief moment in a Hollywood relationship where it obviously makes sense to make an erotic thriller with your partner, Tom Cruise. And Nicole Kidman went through this with Eyes Wide Shut. And it’s happened to any number of of real life Hollywood couples before. So they didn’t want to promote it, as Jeff says. And yeah, I think overlooking the 20th Century Fox to Disney Pipeline is impossible because as Jeff says, Disney hasn’t released an erotic thriller since The Hunchback of Notre Dame. And so they’re just not practiced at this, and it doesn’t fit in well at all with what they’re trying to do corporately. And the idea that this is now a Disney product that we watched on a Disney streaming service and then now is airing on Hulu with Disney publicist. Trying to handle it is hilarious.
S3: Yeah, I think in order to see exactly why that’s true, we need to start digging into the movie itself and how it handles this, this very perverse relationship at its center. So, Dan, you’re you’re my you’re my plot summary. Go to man. You always remember details that I forget. And you probably saw this movie more recently than me as well. So please tell us. Set us up with Vic and Melinda Van Allen, the couple played by Ben and Anna in Deep Water. What’s the what’s their deal?
S1: Vic and Melinda are a beautiful couple who live in urbane, beautiful New Orleans, surrounded by a group of wonderful, vibrant friends. They have a lovely daughter who’s four. Vic is independently wealthy. He made his fortune designing a microchip used by the U.S. military’s drone program to blow people up. Melinda doesn’t have a job, although she’s very busy. She is busy having affairs with beautiful young men who live in the New Orleans area. She seems to have an unlimited number of young men at her disposal. And Vic, for reasons of his own, it seems, has decided to just let her have her erotic freedom. He doesn’t ask questions about where she is. He doesn’t ask questions about the men she’s with. He restrains his jealousy. But as we encounter Vic and Melinda, the cracks are beginning to show in this relationship. Vic, in the very first scenes of the movie, confronts one of these young men at a party and tells him that though he doesn’t mind, of course, that anything is going on between him and his wife, he, in fact, murdered the last guy his wife was close friends with. The guy responds, you know, as as you would expect by fleeing the house and then immediately leaving town. And over the course of the movie, we then see that Melinda cannot stop her compulsive affairs, and Vic is getting less and less able to deal with them, leading eventually to his actual murder of one of the men that Melinda has been seeing. A velvet fingered pianist. Vic drowns in a pool.
S3: Right. And that’s the moment, which I would say. How far into the movie is it that we see that drowning happen? It’s like.
S1: Half halfway through the.
S3: Movie, right? So that’s the only moment. I mean, at least for me, not knowing the story going in, that I realized he was an actual murderer. And in fact, it occurred to me that those scenes at first I thought that those scenes of of Vic drowning, the guy in the pool might have been some sort of fantasy or dream sequence, because up until then, the movie has been really careful about making it seem like it’s a it’s a red herring. Right. That his claim to have murdered his wife’s previous lover, who in fact is was a missing person whose body is found in the course of the movie was a fake claim. Right. We’re supposed to be believing that he was bluffing. To me, that was a really surprising twist, that he was an actual murderer.
S4: Yes, I think so, too. I think that the movie sort of deliberately toys with you in that way. But watching through those scenes a second time, as I sort of did, as I fast forward through this to like try to remember any details because this movie is so crazy, it is a total blur after you’ve watched it one time. Like, it becomes clear that at that point I think you’re supposed to know or get a sense that that’s actually what happened. And you don’t really know until later in the movie when he murders. Still another person kind of that was definitely meant to be stray. But watching it again, you realize that that’s not a dream sequence at all.
S3: I love it’s such a noir set up that there is this previous missing person when the movie starts that we never hear anything about and that there’s never any real solution to that crime. It just exists so that there can be this contagion of an idea that Vic is a murderer, which later turns out to be borne out by reality. But by that time, everybody knows he’s someone who goes around lying at parties and pretending he’s a murderer. So, you know, it sort of obscures his guilt further for everyone.
S1: But one person, the the gumshoe friend played by Tracy Letts, obviously the best character in this movie, who does believe that Vic is capable of murder and is going to prove it.
S3: And this is another noir classic kind of figure, right, is the kind of amateur sleuth who has things figured out before anybody else but gets himself in trouble by becoming an amateur gumshoe and going after the truth on his own.
S4: We are rushing through the important plot points of this movie, which are that these people do nothing but have extremely lavish parties where the character of Melinda is just gets completely wasted and causes a huge scene at every single party. And that is like the opening sequence of the movie. These events always happen. She always brings these men around at these parties while all the other friends comment on it, like very nervously and angrily. And then that’s where the sort of murder gets born.
S3: This is something that I really love about deep water, is that from the moment the movie starts, everybody is involved in this really perverse and sick relationship and it is not at all laid out, nor is there any suggestion that it ever was meant to be a sort of wholesome, open relationship in which both partners are exploring other possibilities. No, it is a sadomasochistic trap in which Vic Ben Affleck’s character just sits around, resentfully smoldering, while Ana de Armas character, Melinda, does everything she wants. I mean, it’s a really, really sick setup from day one, so we don’t really see things go from okay to worse. We see them go from already very bad to just unthinkably bad.
S1: Yeah. Yeah. I describe Vic in a piece I wrote about the movie as a morbid cuckold, and that is his attitude through every single party that this movie portrays. And as Jeff mentions, I believe there are four separate lavish parties over the course of this film, a garden party, a cocktail party with an R&B band by the pool, another pool party with a lot of weed, and then one other party that I’m forgetting. But these people just cannot stop it with the beautiful parties in their beautiful Belle Epoque mansions. And these become the setting for this psychodrama between Melinda and Vic, because Melinda loves making a scene, and Vic cannot stop himself from observing her from nearby windows.
S3: I think another key part of the setup here, Dan, is that we have to talk about the snails. But since you already summarize the story for us, maybe Jeff could talk about the snails that Vic Van Allen likes to keep in a mysterious, damp room in his house.
S4: So I really actually going to need some help understanding what this is about because I really cannot figure it out. This and also the drone thing where he’s like hearing about drone strikes on the news. I don’t understand the metaphor. I don’t know what Adrian Lyne is doing. So I need you guys to explain to me. But the snails. So Vic is very rich, as we mentioned, and doesn’t really have anything going on in his life. It’s for looking out the window at his wife. Fucking like teenagers, basically. So he has this, like, shed. It’s like misty and sensual, and it’s just filled with snails. And these are lovingly filmed snails. There is this is close ups of them. They’re gooey and slimy and slithering around. And it’s just it is completely mysterious. At one point in the movie, there is a character who will discuss a little later, I think, who goes into the snail shed with Vic. And it’s like, what’s the point of these snails? Are they your pets? Like, they’re not your pets? And he was like, There is no point. It’s just I just have snails. Is so completely confounding. What do you guys think is going on with the snails.
S1: While the movie is enraptured with the erotic visual possibilities of snails? For sure. As you say, it loves showing us winding themselves around each other, leaving trails of slime behind them. It does not really pay off. The other thing that the movie tells us about snails, which is that they’re poisonous if you eat them without like doing a whole procedure, without starving them for several days, because otherwise the contents of their intestines become poisonous. So that’s the thing you have to know about escargot. When this character, a hot tamale from Ana de Armas character’s past, a architect right shows up and they begin canoodling. He comes over for dinner and he’s the one chef, as you mentioned, who’s in the shed being like, What’s the deal with the snails man? And then later playfully suggests that they just cook up a bunch of the snails. Vic tells them, Well, you can’t do that without being poisoned. And I thought, Oh, okay, great. Well, someone’s going to be poisoned by snails at some point in this movie. Vic’s going to sneak in a bunch of snails. An earlier boyfriend was allergic to shellfish, we’re told a big flashing red light that something’s going to happen involving this guy who literally has a shed full of shellfish, but then no one has ever killed by shellfish and that never pays off.
S3: I do have one thing to say about the snails, and I can’t illuminate much further than this because I have not read Deep Water the Patricia Highsmith novel from 1957 that this movie’s based on. But if you would like to hear a little bit about what snails meant to Patricia Highsmith, there’s a wonderful quote. And I have it’s not me that found this. I came across this on on Twitter by somebody trying to figure out the snails in deep water. This is a quote from a Jeanette Winterson review of a biography of Patricia Highsmith. Ready?
S1: I’m so ready.
S3: So here’s Jeanette Winterson on Patricia Highsmith. Concealment was her game and her way of life. Dating three women at a time was not difficult for her. She collected snails, liking their portable hiding place and the impossibility of telling which was male and which was female. She travelled with snails in her luggage and kept hundreds at home. If she was bored at dinner parties, she might get a few snails out of her purse and let them loose on the tablecloth. So that’s Patricia Highsmith’s own relationship to snails, which I really, really hope that it wasn’t in the novel Deep Water, and that the screenwriters were simply brilliant enough to know that about Patricia Highsmith. And we’ve that into the story. But maybe she projected that onto the character. I don’t know.
S1: What’s so funny about that is the idea that what she loved about snails is their concealment. And if there’s one thing that this movie lacks, it is concealment. There’s nothing subtle or concealed about Melinda’s relationships with all these men. There’s nothing subtle about Vic’s response to it. There’s nothing whatsoever concealed about the relationship. All of their friends know and like have conversations with Vicky where they’re like, Dude, you know, she’s fucking him. So the idea that they put the snails in as an image to Patricia Highsmith, love of the subtlety and concealment of snails is absolutely delightful.
S3: Yeah, I agree that thematically they don’t really make sense, but visually they make sense. And I was even thinking about Adrien lines love of of sweaty, slick bodies, which is a little more true of the nineties thrillers that he made. And this movie, this doesn’t have as many sex scenes, really, for a movie that’s all about eroticism. There isn’t a lot of sex that we see. But if you think about nine and a half weeks for Fatal Attraction, everybody’s always having sex and sweating. There’s like intertwining, slimy bodies everywhere. But it’s the snails that sort of do that for this movie.
S4: My biggest issue with the movie is exactly what you just said, data. And it is that there’s, like, barely any actual sex in this movie. The most erotic scene is just where Melinda, like, takes her shirt off and is, like, laying in bed and forcing that Affleck to, like, rub lotion on her back. And when they actually have sex, it’s, like, extremely uninspired. It’s not hot at all. Ben Affleck, also sexy man in this movie Complete sets up what is going on there with this? I don’t understand. The whole attraction of these movies typically is that even if I don’t agree with the moral politics of what happens to people who really want to have sex in Adrian Lyne movies, it’s usually they look great doing it. And in this movie they don’t even it’s like, not at all.
S1: I couldn’t agree more strongly. I have felt for many years that we’re long overdue for a rebirth of the overheated, erotic thriller that exists for no reason other than to make hot actors do a bunch of sex scenes with each other. It’s very frustrating to me that this movie, I think, only has two sex scenes, basically. I mean, maybe 3% of the running time in this movie, I haven’t rewatched nine and a half weeks in a long time. Granted and granted, it’s deeply embedded in my psyche due to the fact that I watched it when I was 12. But I remember it being 130% sex scenes. And so it feels really like a failure of this movie that Ben Affleck never gets naked at all. The sex is, as Jeff says, a. Not particularly an inspired Dana. As you say, they’re not even sweaty. It’s just very frustrating.
S4: I think the only sorry thing are the snails. It’s ridiculous. Yeah.
S3: Exactly. Yeah. Somehow the sex scenes are sublimated off onto the snails.
S1: They shot it in New Orleans. It was 98 degrees with 100% humidity. Every day they.
S1: Everyone should have been absolutely dripping with sweat.
S3: We want body heat, levels of perspiration, people. Yes, I do think it makes sense that the sex scene between the husband and wife is not hot, though, because it is supposed to be the case that, you know, their relationship is completely driven by things that are not sexy, right? By resentment, jealousy, paranoia. There’s not really any intimacy between them.
S1: I think that. That Adrian and they thought there was a hot sex. Yeah, I agree. I like it’s presented that.
S3: Yeah, I guess so. I guess that that is supposed to be what, what turns them on right is the twisted ness of their relationship. But the sex scenes that I would have liked more of were the ones of her with her boys. Because it seems like that’s the place where, you know, that both of them are focusing their eroticism on this triangulation with with other figures.
S4: Yeah, I think the issue there is that those scenes are deliberately kept kind of like shadowy because you don’t really understand the nature of what Melinda is doing either. Early in the movie, Vic, you kind of like you maybe think he killed that guy, but probably didn’t. And the movie’s deliberately withholding that information. And then with Melinda, you don’t actually know that she’s screwing these boys, although she certainly seems to be, like, canoodling with them. And she seems to like.
S1: Come on. I mean, I know she’s fucking.
S4: Well, maybe, but I think that the movie, there’s a reason that it’s not showing. And I think that that is what the reason is intended to be. I mean, these actors in this movie are actually fairly well known. One of them is the star of Euphoria. The other one is Finn Wittrock. And he and like the.
S1: Guy Finn Wittrock. Yeah.
S4: I mean, he’s pretty hot. And I think that they’re casting these actors and they really waste it. But I think that that is what the movie is trying to do to make it a little bit mysterious what’s happening between them. Even all the friends are absolutely convinced of what’s going on.
S1: I agree with you that that’s what it’s trying to do. I just think that was a mistake. And in fact, if you’re going to have Ben Affleck staring through a window at his wife with another guy, he should just be staring through a window as they’re doing it by the pool or something.
S4: No, I totally agree.
S3: I wonder if you what degree that was also Disney’s desire to keep this relatively clean. Although this movie is so morally filthy that it doesn’t really matter how much sex you do or don’t see on screen. All right. I’m going to take a little break there and then we can get into the madness of Act Three. But let’s hear first a word from our sponsor. All right, back to deep water. I think we should rejoin the movie at the moment that we’ve already alluded to where Ben Affleck’s character, Vic Ben Allen, drowns, the second lover that we learn about, his wife’s second lover who pops up in the movie, her piano teacher. He drowns him at a pool party with a bunch of their friends in attendance. And as I mentioned, it’s filmed in a way that seemed to me at the time, like a dream sequence or a fantasy. I wasn’t sure if it was really the case that he had killed him or not. But the movie takes a very sharp turn after that murder. Dan, do you want to lead us into the second half of deepwater?
S1: Would I ever. The cops show up at the really fancy house where this party was, and everyone at all the friends are in agreement that, of course, Vic could never have done this with the exception of Melinda, who straight up says, Yeah, yeah, Vic killed him to the cops. And then there’s one other guy who also thinks that Vic seems a little bit shady, and he is my favorite character in this movie. Don Wilson, the older husband of one of the sets of couple friends played by the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Tracy Letts Don Wilson. He thinks he knows what’s up. He hires a private investigator to start trailing Vic. Vic makes him immediately and confronts him along with Melinda. Vic bursts into Don Wilson’s house and confronts him in front of his wife about what he’s done. And Don Wilson blusters and says, I never would have done that, but he definitely did. But still, he’s on to the guy. Meanwhile, Melinda takes up with a third man, the previously mentioned Finn Wittrock playing, as I said before, an architect from her past. They begin canoodling. Vic picks Finn Wittrock up in his in his car. They drive out to the gorge that Vic likes to mountain bike to many gorges, famously in the greater New Orleans area. And then Vic pushes Finn Wittrock off a cliff and kills him like it’s a little sloppy and it’s not clearly 100% meant to kill him. But he definitely was behaving with real malice, threw a big rock at him, and then eventually forced him off a cliff to his death. Vic tries to cover the body up the next day, ends up back at the gorge with Melinda for a furtive handjob over a picnic lunch.
S3: Quick question about that second trip to the gorge to both of you. Sure. Did she know why the hell would she happen to suggest a trip to the very site where her husband had killed her lover the previous day? If she didn’t know. But we are never led.
S1: You’ll have to ask screenwriters. Zach Hellman, Sam Levinson. Dana. Because it’s not really spelled out over the course of this film. While at the gorge after the handjob, Vick notices that, in fact, Fin, with Rock’s body, has floated to the surface. The water was not deep enough.
S3: Not deep enough water. An Adrian Lyne.
S1: Throat. That’s correct. He manages he manufactures an excuse to go back to the gorge. He attempts to push the water down. Melinda, at this point knows something must be up because she has found fin wit, rocks, wallet buried among all the snails who have been climbing slime lily all over it. She calls Don Wilson. Don Wilson drives out to the gorge, catches Vick in the act. There’s a chase. Vic hilariously chases a driving Tracy Letts on his mountain bike. But Tracy Letts cannot stop himself from texting while driving. Kids don’t do it. It’s not safe. He swerves out of the way to avoid Vic, who has fallen in the path of his car, drives his car off a cliff. It shatters into pieces at the bottom, killing him instantly. And Vic and Melinda live happily ever after.
S3: Insane, utterly insane ending.
S4: You really can’t overemphasize that. Like, Dan’s description is not eliding anything. The movie takes such an absurd turn. Like, literally, I don while he’s texting and driving and swerving through the fucking woods. He texts autocorrect. Like, he’s, like, trying to just get these words out. And those are.
S3: The last words. God damn fucking autocorrect llamo.
S1: Extremely relatable moment. That’s how we’re all going to go.
S3: Really? Tracy Letts is so vastly overqualified for that role. I’m seeing supporting actor Oscar.
S1: Oh, good. He is. So he’s the only one who understands how trashy this movie is, in my opinion. He is the person in this cast who signed his contract said, I’m going to have the time of my life, cash the check, and never looked back.
S3: Well, there’s a couple details about the Tracy Letts character and some moments that he has with Ben that I just have to revisit that I don’t think we’ve given attention to specifically. One is that he’s a novelist, which I love that detail about him. Right. He’s he’s he’s a novelist who seems to be working on a memoir at the beginning. He’s set up as a somewhat ineffectual, you know, a laughable sort of egghead in their friend group. But of course, it’s that fact, the fact that he is this observer from the outside that makes him able to be attuned to these not very well concealed things that Vic is doing. And the second is, speaking of concealment, just the utter hilarity and just slapstick brilliance of the moment when Tracy Letts shows up at the gorge while Ben Affleck’s character is in the act of trying to submerge this floating body with a stick, the body is totally visible at the surface of the water, and he’s just poking at it with his large twig. And there is Tracy Letts sort of seeing it happen. And there’s just this wonderful exchange between them where in a sort of faux casual tone, Tracy Letts, his character, is saying, so what are you doing with that stick? And and Vic is still trying to cover it up. And just like his his blustering bravado at that moment as he’s poking ineffectually with the stick is my favorite moment in the entire movie.
S1: It’s really, really good. It’s exactly what I would do if I encountered my former friend trying to submerge a body with a stick.
S3: And if nothing else, in addition to being just great black comedy, it’s such a great metaphor for just lying until the exact last possible moment that you can stop lying. Right. Which is a very quintessential noir moment as well. Right. I mean, you’re just you’re is flop sweat and you’ve completely failed at covering up your crime, but you’re still just poking away with that stick and lying till the bitter end.
S1: I will say that I think this movie is quite good at is illustrating how bad normal people are at murder. Like, it’s just really hard to get away with murder. Honestly, if you’re like a rando and Vic. He’s murdered thousands through drone technology, but when he actually needs to get his hands dirty, it does not take long for everyone to figure out just how bad he is.
S3: Right. Well, and in answer to Jeff’s question about what the drone plot point is doing in there, I actually thought that that was an effective updating of the script. I mean, obviously, Patricia Highsmith was not writing about drones back in 1957, so that’s something the screenwriters gave Vik to explain why he’s rich and retired at a very young age. And also, I think you’re right, Dan, to align him with murder, right? I mean, he’s been able to do this sort of sublimated murder via government means that he’s gotten away with and gotten very rich from and his been able to set himself up with his snails in his nice suburban mansion because of that murder. But yeah, when he has to actually get his hands dirty, he’s a complete failure at it.
S4: Wow. That is a very satisfying explanation. I was like, is Melinda like cooking the military industrial complex? Like, what exactly is going on here? But that makes a little more sense. I’m so grateful to be here just to to learn what was going on with that.
S3: But Dan, although I think you’re right that this movie is in part about how hard it is to murder someone and get away with it. In fact, Vic does get away with it. And that is something that’s different from the novel. I didn’t read the novel, but in writing my review I did read about it and I get the impression that the novel ends with Vic getting caught. He gets taken away by the cops at the end of the novel, so the murder is revealed. Whereas in the movie, because of this swerving car accident of Tracy Letts careening into the canyon, there’s nobody alive who knows what happened for sure. Or I guess Melinda. But nobody believes her or nobody believed her earlier.
S1: She seems to have decided it’s. You know what? I’m fine with it. Yeah, I mean, it is his little perversion.
S4: This is an Adrian Lyne theme that, like, ultimately, the women get kind of turned on when their lovers start killing people like this. His last movie 20 years ago, Unfaithful, kind of ends that way with Richard Gere murders Oliver Martinez. And it ends up that they like sort of stay together in the end and no get busted. So this is definitely a late career moment that old men should definitely kill their wives or lovers.
S3: But then there are Adrian Lyne movies that have a different kind of ending, like Fatal Attraction, where person who goes around committing adultery and leading other people into temptation, especially if it’s a woman, has to get killed themselves, as in Fatal Attraction. But the end of this movie is really as noir. As noir can get. It sounds like it’s even. More noir than the ending of the Highsmith novel, because the murder really is just incorporated into the erotic life of the Kinky Van Allens. And, you know, that’s going to be the end of it.
S1: It’s fun to imagine a way forward for them that now their arrangement is she’s allowed to have affairs, but he’s also allowed to murder the guys she sleeps with.
S4: Okay, now you guys are making you want a sequel. Like you can’t imagine when they got, like, all the drama out of the way and they just know what they’re doing to each other. That would be fantastic.
S1: It seems more like a continuing series.
S3: All right. Well, I guess the movie ends there, so we will close there telling people, yes, this is the movie with which to get drunk with your loved one and, you know, watch it in a sticky sweat while we’re holding your snails very close together. But Dan, you had something to say about Trixie, the daughter of this couple, who is, to me, incongruously well-adjusted, given how completely sick her parents relationship is. But the actress who plays her is quite wonderful for such a small child. What do you have to say about Trixie?
S1: So Trixie is played by Grace Jenkins. One of the many things I love about this movie that betrays just what an absurd undertaking it is, is that it seems as though it was very, very important to Ben Affleck to make sure that the script and film demonstrate that though his relationship with his wife is completely insane, though he and his wife are the worst friends of a friend group driving all of their other friends completely insane with their antics. He is a devoted and kind father to Trixie, with whom he has a very close relationship. He drives her to school and has loving conversations with her. He lets her sing to her heart’s content in the backseat of the car. He even talks with her when she’s in the bathtub, where she’s speculating that she thinks he’s probably a murderer. And he just sort of chuckles and gives her a little life lesson about how we just don’t really know what happens when when people murder people, but probably they’d get in trouble for it. She’s like, maybe a little sociopath is the vibe I’m getting. But they are so tight and loving that I loved this portrait of kind and attentive parenting folded into an Adrian Lynn erotic thriller. What an unexpected treat at the center of this movie. It really is one of the great parenting movies of our time.
S3: And again, yeah, there’s not there’s no punishment there. At the end of the movie, Trixie is still living with her two messed up parents, you know, just growing up.
S1: Totally, totally.
S3: Happy. Adrian Lyne is 81 now, and it’s been 20 years since he made a movie. But if he makes another one quickly enough, if he can fit in another movie in his lifespan, I think it should be about the grown up Trixie and what happens to her.
S1: She’s she’s obviously a pop star. Based on how much Adrian Lyne loved the scene of her scene in the back seat, so much so that he made it the credits sequence where, you know, a marvel movie might have something setting up the next Marvel superhero. Deep Water has a full 2 minutes of Trixie singing. What is she singing in.
S3: The singing, Leo Sayers. You make me feel like dancin. Oh, yes, classic. And it is a really adorable ending. It’s sort of funny that you finish watching this movie. That is just the absolute worst, darkest glimpse of human nature you could imagine. And it ends with this really sweet, I don’t know, maybe six year old kid singing an old seventies disco song.
S4: Yeah. And who’s to say that this is not like a marvel scene? You know, maybe this is teasing the future that we all want. I would say that my reaction to this is altogether much, much more grossed out. It was so bizarre that that was the credits sequence. And that little girl is so precocious and the movie does such weird things with her character.
S3: All right. Well, I hope that that little actress is all right. That scene in the bathtub where she basically calls her dad a murderer. I really hope that there was some sort of, you know, psychological consultant in the background dealing with little Grace Jenkins afterwards. But I think she did a great job. Yeah, deep water, as you can tell from this spoiler special. It’s a weird movie. Maybe you’ll like it. Maybe you won’t. But I would send you to check it out. And that does it for this Slate Spoiler special. Please subscribe to our podcast feed and if you like the show, please rate it and review it in the Apple Podcast Store or wherever you get your podcasts. And please, if you have suggestions for movies or TV shows we should spoil in the future or other feedback to share. Send it to spoilers at Slate.com. Our producer for this episode was Cleo Levin for Dan Kois and Jeffrey Bloomer. I’m Dana Stevens. Thanks so much for listening and we’ll talk to you soon.