ONE TERENCE takes on another: Filmmaker Terence Davies reconfigures playwright Terence Rattigan's 1952 post-WWII drama The Deep Blue Sea as a heartbreaking kaleidoscope of memory. Rachel Weisz stars in the love story as Hester, a woman whose marriage to an elderly judge (Simon Russell Beale) has been jeopardized by her affair with hot-tempered Freddie (Tom Hiddleston), an ex-pilot set adrift following his discharge from the air force. The Deep Blue Sea opens on Hester's suicide attempt, with Davies and cinematographer Florian Hoffmeister book-ending the narrative with matching shots that deftly illustrate the polarity of their central character's moods. In between, we bear witness to the first blush of romance, wartime insecurity, and the brutality inherent in an unbalanced union.
Davies is a marvelous visual stylist whose long pans and dizzy spins carry the audience in their emotional rush. The Deep Blue Sea has more cohesion than Davies' nostalgic masterpiece, 1992's The Long Day Closes, but the structure comes without sacrificing any heart or vitality. Weisz is breathtaking as the conflicted lover, relying neither on blame nor self-pity. She and the film walk a precarious line, but watching them work their way across is a powerful experience.