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Between “Titanic 3D” and “The Deep Blue Sea”

April 9, 2012

I planned to see Titanic 3D this weekend, and then I remembered: I loathed it in 2D. Why would adding one more dimension make it any less hackneyed? Plus, there was another movie about a romantic triangle playing nearby that also starred an Oscar-winning British actress (Rachel Weisz), had received rapturous reviews and ran only half the length of James Cameron’s bloated epic: The Deep Blue Sea. So I took my chances. The moral of the story: I should’ve stuck with the devil I know.

Although it’s only 98 minutes, Terence Davies’ adaptation of Terence Rattigan’s 1952 play feels twice as long as Titanic. That’s because it’s so slow-paced, everyone seems to be moving underwater; maybe that explains the title. Weisz’s character, a 1950 London lady who’s cheating on her stodgy judge husband (Simon Russell Beale) with a WWII hero (Tom Hiddleston), invokes the “devil and the deep blue sea” cliché to describe her predicament. But while Weisz gives an admirable performance, I felt no sympathy for her flibertigibbet character, who attempts suicide after her lover forgets her birthday. If only Facebook had been around in the ’50s!

While it’s filled with supposedly meaningful pauses between the minimalist dialogue, The Deep Blue Sea is simply too shallow in detail to make the romantic intrigue captivating. We’re told Weisz’s character married Beale’s because he was the first man who ever proposed to her, but there’s no more explanation for their relationship. And we’re meant to feel Weisz’s magnetic attraction for Hiddleston, but he’s such a profoundly uncharismatic actor (I’m shocked anyone hired him after his laughable performance in Thor) that their chemistry fizzles.

But the biggest problem with this flick is Terence Davies. Though I haven’t seen the handful of other films he’s made over the past 25 years, I can only conclude that he’s the British Terrence Malick: an alleged genius who works so infrequently and is so pretentiously arty that critics worship his cryptic yet meaningless period pieces. At least James Cameron, for all his clunky dialogue and clumsy acting, gives you bombast for your buck. The Deep Blue Sea sinks without making a sound.

Did you revisit Titanic? Did the 3D add anything other than a surcharge to the ticket price?

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6 Comments
  1. Oh no, not going to suffer Titanic or its theme song ever again.

  2. Kitty led me here with her Facebook share.

    Titanic 3D? Hellz no. And I’d not heard of “The Deep Blue Sea until I read your review. I would be tempted to see this simply for Rachel. She’s a tremendous actress, able to save just about any movie in which she appears (consider Constantine). Perhaps on DVD, however . . .

  3. Who was Hiddleston in Thor? Which I saw. Unfortunately, Did I see it with you? Yes, I know I can IMDB it

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