Deep Water Film Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Analysis of the film Deep Water (2022): the union of a hysteroid and a psychopath. The meaning of the film, the plot summary, the explanation of the ending, similar movies.

Country: USA, Australia

Genre: thriller, melodrama

Year of production: 2022

Director: Adrian Lyne

Cast: Ben Affleck, Ana de Armas, Grace Jenkins, Tracey Letts, Rel Rel Howery

tagline: “The love story is never the whole story.”

The meaning of the film Deep Water, a film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith, from the master of the genre of erotic thriller Adrian Lyne, as a whole corresponds to the meaning of the original source. But some details of the plot and the ending are still changed. And this new interpretation is designed to make the characters deeper, and their relationship more controversial.

What is the movie about

The audience is introduced to a married couple – Vic and Melinda Van Allen. Together with their daughter named Trixie, they live in a quiet town in Louisiana. Vic until recently worked as an engineer in the military industry. His unique invention, the combat drone chip, allowed him to retire at the age of forty-five, securing a comfortable life. Melinda lives on her husband’s money.

Ben AffleckBen Affleck and Ana de Armas starred as Vic and Melinda Van Allen. Frame from the film.

Her entertainment is parties and meetings with lovers, which Vic is well aware of, but does not interfere with these relationships on the side. The acquaintances of the spouses also know about them – and to a greater extent they are on the side of Vic. It seems that everyone considers Melinda a spectacular woman, but depraved and spoiled, and her husband is kind and forgiving.

Vic really, it would seem, easily forgives his wife’s betrayals and almost defiantly allows her to commit them, not wanting to get a divorce. However, at some point, his patience begins to run out. The first “bell” happens at a party where Melinda comes with her husband and her next lover, musician Joel Dash. Vic, in a conversation with the latter, reports that he killed Martin McRae. He went missing a few months ago and was also Melinda’s lover.

Joel, out of fear, stops communicating with Vic’s wife, and rumors of a murder instantly spread throughout the town. However, after a while, the police find the real killer of McRae.

After breaking up with Joel, Melinda finds herself a new lover named Charlie de Lyle, also a musician. They show up at another party, where, as usual, Vic is also present. He is jealous, trying, also as usual, not to show it. It’s starting to rain. Almost everyone runs away from the pool where the festivities took place. Only Melinda’s husband and lover remain. Vic drowns Charlie, after which he calmly returns to the company. Going outside, Melinda discovers the corpse of her boyfriend and accuses her husband of murdering her. The arriving police, however, see no signs of violent death and leave Vic alone.

Jacob ElordiJacob Elordi played the role of musician Charlie de Lyle. Frame from the film.

Most of the spouses I knew did not believe Melinda. But writer Don Wilson, who recently met the couple, shared their suspicions. He, at the request of Melinda, found a private detective to spy on Vic. But the latter easily reveals the plot, and in this regard, having come to dinner with the Wilson family, he makes a claim to Don.

After a while, Melinda resumes a love relationship with her school friend Tony Cameron. This time both are defiant in Vic’s presence. He is jealous again and again does not show. Meeting with Tony in the city, Vic, under the pretext of inspecting land for construction, takes him to the forest and stoned him to death. Tony falls off a rocky cliff and dies. Vic hides the body in the stream.

The hero again finds himself at the scene of the last crime to have a picnic with his wife. After the picnic, she allegedly forgets her scarf and Vic returns there. At the same time, he tries to disguise the surfaced corpse of Tony. Behind this lesson, Vic is suddenly caught by Don Wilson. He rushes to the car. Vic starts chasing on a bicycle and, shortening the path through the forest, rushes across. At the end of the chase, Don falls off a cliff and crashes.

Melinda finds Tony’s ID in the outbuilding where Vic raised his beloved earth snails. She is going to run away with her daughter from her husband. However, the girl, not wanting to part with her father, throws the suitcase into the pool. As a result, Melinda decides to stay.

When Vic returns, she says that she saw Tony, although in fact she has known about the disappearance of her lover for a long time and seems to also know the clue. The same footage was shown in cut form at the very beginning of the film. And at the very end, before the credits, we see how the heroine burns the identity card of her deceased lover.

Deep Water Ending explanation

The meaning of the ending of the film Deep Water is this: Melinda, with her last words, actually made it clear to her husband that she not only knew about Tony’s murder (this was clear before), but now she is ready to cover for him. Her calm and humble gaze, as well as the footage of the burning of evidence, confirm this. The relationship between Vic and Melinda, full of mutual passion and hatred, will go to a new round – this is hinted at by the visual “loop” of the story.

This explanation of the ending, like the ending itself, does not match the original. And here it is about the meaning of the novel Deep Water and the differences in the plots of the book and the film.

The meaning of the film Deep Water

So, the film Deep Water is a film adaptation of the 1957 novel by the writer Patricia Highsmith, and already the third in a row. The first was a French film in 1981 starring the famous Jean-Louis Trintignant. The second film adaptation was embodied in two parts of the German film “Taife Wasser”.

The painting Deep Water of 2022 is close in content to the original source. Of course, the cinema is not able to give a detailed description of the relationship of the characters, as in the novel, where you can also get acquainted in detail with Vic’s thoughts and feelings. But the film conveys the meaning quite accurately – perhaps, at some points making it deeper.

In the book, as in the movie, Vic’s character is initially extremely tolerant. For almost all the inhabitants of the town – he is almost an angel in the flesh. The fact that his wife’s infidelities hurt him, he does not even admit to himself, to the last creating the appearance of a noble hero. This image is reinforced by an imaginary and unattainable ideal for him of marital fidelity, which is embodied by the earth snails he adores.

Finn WittrockThe role of Nick was played by Finn Wittrock. Frame from the film.

Vic is not like most men, which flatters his vanity. On the other hand, he also says (in the novel) that this pride has long been destroyed by betrayals. Just like in the film Deep Water, in the book, such passive behavior develops into active criminal acts. But in the original, Vic goes further – he kills his wife.

The authors of the film did not reproduce such a scenario. Instead, they made Melinda a virtual partner in her husband’s crime. The girl initially had a pretty clear idea of ​​what Vic feels and what drives him. She provoked him, he succumbed to provocations. Both suffered at the same time (both Melinda’s tears and Vic’s anger are shown), and enjoyed such a relationship. All this fueled the passion of the characters. And the final events, in fact, generally strengthened the relationship of the spouses. In this regard, in the novel, Melinda is a more passive and frivolous character who paid for her behavior with her life.

The main idea and essence of the film “Deep Water” is hardly to give any kind of morality, and you should not look for a hidden meaning here. Rather, the task was simply to show that this also happens.

At the same time, the relationships shown in the film and novel give a lot of scope for their explanation from the point of view of popular psychology and psychiatry. On the network you can find a lot of analyzes with an emphasis on the mental deviations of the characters. So, Melinda is classified as a hysterical type of personality (egocentrism and a thirst to be in the spotlight) with signs of a narcissistic disorder (an exaggerated sense of self-importance, poor empathy for the suffering of others). In Vika, they see a real psychopath – there is antisocial behavior, a violation of empathy and remorse. By the way, the last authors of the film emphasized this with the help of the hero’s attitude to the professional past: he easily relates to killing people with the help of his invention. This is another difference from the novel, where Vic worked as a book publisher.

Ana de ArmasStarring Ana de Armas. Frame from the film.

Many people refer to Vic’s character with the common word “cuckold”, listing childhood traumas that lead to this type of sacrificial behavior. Neither in the book nor in the film Deep Water the childhood of the heroes is revealed, but psychologists say that in reality the reasons should be looked for there. Once upon a time, the hero, for sure, had a trauma, because of which a feeling of rejection was forever fixed in him.

The very name of the film eloquently hints: this is a work about how hiding from all your true feelings eventually becomes the cause of crimes. A relationship based on such an explosive foundation can be called passion, but definitely not love.

Similar films

  • Unfaithful (France, USA, Germany, 2002): one of the best films by Adrian Lyne dedicated to adultery;
  • Gone Girl (USA, 2014): another film with Ben Affleck about the toxic relationship of spouses;
  • Eyes Wide Shut (USA, UK, 1999): a look at treason from the legendary Stanley Kubrick;
  • Basic Instinct (USA, France, 1992): Paul Verhoeven’s cult erotic thriller;
  • What Lies Beneath (USA, 2000): a mystical thriller by Robert Zemeckis about how the secret becomes clear.
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