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The Deep Blue Sea

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Whoa!

News of a new film by Terence Davies is almost as rare, and almost as intriguing (for me, anyway), as news of a new Terrence Malick film.

Fulcrum Media Finance, the London- and Sydney-based film and TV financier, has closed its first wholly British deal. Rachel Weisz stars in Davies’ new screen version of Terence Rattigan’s The Deep Blue Sea. Shooting on the UK Film Council and Film4 backed project begins in November. Tom Hiddleston will play Weisz’s reprobate RAF pilot lover and Simon Russell Beale her stolid husband.
Edited by Overstreet

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FWIW, Rattigan is the playwright who wrote The Winslow Boy, and that was adapted into a wonderful movie.

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Jeffrey, I assume you're referring to the Winslow Boy film from 1999 and not 1949, right? Just wanted to clarify so I can catch the good one.

I haven't seen any of Terence Davies's films. I note this filmography for him on Wikipedia:

Filmography

Which of these is worth seeing if there is only time for 1 or 2 on this list?

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Well, keep in mind, he's a very meditative, introspective filmmaker. The Long Day Closes, a memoir of Davies' childhood, makes The New World feel like an action movie. But it's a masterpiece.

The House of Mirth is more accessible, and features the best big-screen performance by Gillian Anderson. (Yes, that Gillian Anderson.)

I haven't seen Distant Voices, Still Lives, but I hear it's wonderful.

Of Time and the City is an autobiographic documentary that is very revealing. I found that difficult because Davies' anger at the Catholic Church... as well as his general disapproval of other cultural realities like, well, The Beatles... grew abrasive. But I recognize that it is a powerful, personal film, beautifully woven together from historical footage and new shots of relevant architecture.

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Thanks for your thoughts on Davies. It does indeed sound like he studied not at the Malick School of Great but Infrequent Films. Rumor has it that Paul Thomas Anderson is finishing a course there as well.

Correction: I meant to say "studied at the School of". Cancel out the word "not" in that sentence.

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Empire has a "first look." Man, having recently seen Distant Voices, Still Lives, and revisited The Long Day Closes, I cannot wait for this.

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Is this a remake of the killer shark movie Deep Blue Sea?

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First reaction I've encountered - Mike D'angelo's:

The Deep Blue Sea (Davies): 78 "Where are you going?" "TO THE IMPRESSIONISTS!" Gorgeously heightened treatment of a stubbornly prosaic play.

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Video with Terence Davies and Tom Hiddleston.

Guardian review by Catherine Shoard:

The good news is that Terence Davies's adaptation of Terence Rattigan's 1952 play about a judge's wife who has an affair with an RAF pilot is nothing if not faithful. It's a veritable Greyfriars Bobby: patiently wagging its tail, even if its master is not looking too hot around the chops. Those who can't bear the idea of a staple of the English stage sexed-up for the flicks can sleep easy. That's the bad news, too, of course.

Whatever measures Davies takes to make cinematic waves – lavish soft focus, energetic orchestration, a devil-may-care approach to cigarette smoke – The Deep Blue Sea remains flat as a duck pond, the prisoner of a story whose relevance, even in metaphor, has lost much of its sting, and whose dialogue has more than a whiff of a French and Saunders sketch: "I knew in that tiny moment that I had no power to resist him. No power at all."

...

The Deep Blue Sea is a film one feels bad trashing: there's a lot of talent on display, a lot of passion and commitment thrashing away beneath the surface. I wish I could wave at it happily, rather than drown it in caveats. But it's just too fathomable, too blue, too damn wet.

Edited by Overstreet

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Is this a remake of the killer shark movie Deep Blue Sea?

No, it's a sequel ala THE Final Destination.

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Bit of a let down (for me anyway). Not horrible, but my expectations were pretty high given Davies's previous work. The acting is all that, but the play hasn't aged well. I heard more than one festival goer express irritation rather than empathy (or even sympathy) with Weisz's character.

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Jonathan Rosenbaum has posted his original review of Terence Davies' Distant Voices, Still Lives. I saw that film for the first time just a few months ago and was overwhelmed. Pete Postlethwaite was never more frightening than he was in this film.

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Saw it this evening at the Aero Theatre. Liked it, although the experience of the film itself was eclipsed by the Q&A afterward with Davies, who was very generous and animated. Some things I learned about the film:

Davies did not originally choose the material; the producers came to him wanting to adapt a Terence Rattigan play. Since The Browning Version and Separate Tables were already filmed memorably, they settled on one that had not been done cinematically to Davies' satisfaction. (He didn't have kind things to say about the performances in the 1955 version.)

Although they used a Panaflex camera, the lenses they shot with were 40 years old. For some scenes, the cinematographer placed a piece of nylon behind the lens to give the film a softer look.

Davies doesn't go to new movies. He says he can no longer suspend his disbelief. But one day, when he was bored with the book he was reading, he turned on the telly and saw the most luminous woman onscreen. Looking her name up in the end credits, he called his producer and asked if he'd ever heard of an actress named Rachel Weisz. "Terence," said his producer, "you're the only one who hasn't."

The film is about love. The three main characters all need a certain kind of love from each other, but they are unable to get it, and the others are unable to give it. It would have been easy enough to make the "cold" husband an ogre, but there are no villains in this film.

The way Davies weaves the past and present together is dreamily seamless, equalled only by Resnais.

There is a bit of Dennis Potter in Davies' affection for old pop songs.

The movie is very sad.

Edited by Nathaniel

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Saw this on Saturday and really liked it, especially the way it used the second movement of Barber's Violin concerto. This is what I wrote on facebook about it:

As much as I liked it, what I liked even more was the way it used Samuel Barber's Violin concerto throughout, as played by Hilary Hahn. So much so that, as soon as I got home, I dug out my copy of the score for the Violin Concerto that I picked up five years ago when I first studied the piece, and spent the rest of the evening going over it again. Unfortunately, I only had a recording by Itzhak Perlman, which doesn't hold a candle to Hahn's performance.

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Becky and I watched this last night and both liked it. Sad, yes, but the acting was first-rate and it was gorgeously photographed. If this one isn't quite as highly regarded as his others, then I'll definitely have to be on the lookout for them, as I thought this was a pretty masterfully done film (if occasionally a bit too on-the-nose).

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For the record, in a year of "heavy competition," Rachel Weisz won Best Actress for this film in the New York Film Critics Circle awards.

Edited by Overstreet

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She deserved it. A great performance in a film full of equally great ones.

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FWIW, Lou Lumenick:

Because of the group’s arcane voting system, a third-ballot tie between “Zero Dark Thirty’’ star Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence of “The Silver Linings Playbook’’ for best actress led to a surprise fourth-ballot victory by Rachel Weisz as an unfaithful wife in the period drama ‘The Deep Blue Sea.’’

Reminiscent of how, according to Jonathan Rosenbaum, Out of Sight won Best Picture from the National Society of Film Critics in 1998 because there was a tie between Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line.

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The way Davies weaves the past and present together is dreamily seamless, equalled only by Resnais.

I recently caught up with this and found myself having absolutely nothing to say about it. I find it harder to suspend disbelief in period pieces than any other sort of filmmaking. But - this comparison makes me want to go back and watch those edits/transitions again. Good catch.

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Watched it this evening (paired with THE LONELIEST PLANET - how's that for a relationship movie double bill? Yikes). Lots to admire here, especially Weisz's work, but I don't know if it all came together for me on the first go. In an odd coincidence, I watched GERTRUD for the first time only a few days ago, and the overlap between this and that on all sorts of levels is what's keeping SEA from quietly slipping away from me.

In particular, I find it odd that of the two films, it's SEA that strikes me as the more immediately "stagy" adaptation. Maybe I just knew what I was getting into with Dreyer, but I was still surprised by the rather theatrical line readings and pregnant pauses that Davies uses here. That, and the lack of ambient street/neighbourhood sounds in nearly every scene; every line highlighted by a crisp indoor echo.

Edited by Nathan Douglas

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Although they used a Panaflex camera, the lenses they shot with were 40 years old. For some scenes, the cinematographer placed a piece of nylon behind the lens to give the film a softer look.

This explains the unusual, beautiful look of the film.

I cannot say I loved THE DEEP BLUE SEA. The material does not enchant me. But Davies is an impressive filmmaker.

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Just watched this last night. I liked it quite a bit, even if I'm not utterly enraptured by it. I've been watching a great deal of Japanese cinema lately, all of which seems to be haunted by the spectre of Hiroshima and the war. The same thing struck me about this film (which is unsurprising given what I know about Rattigan and the post-war English playwrights), and I went a little bit into how the war acts as defining era for the characters in this story. I agree with those who praise Rachel Weisz' performance as well as Davies' masterful filmmaking. As I remark at the end of my review, those things elevate the film above other similar takes on the material.

Saw it this evening at the Aero Theatre. Liked it, although the experience of the film itself was eclipsed by the Q&A afterward with Davies, who was very generous and animated. Some things I learned about the film:

Davies did not originally choose the material; the producers came to him wanting to adapt a Terence Rattigan play. Since The Browning Version and Separate Tables were already filmed memorably, they settled on one that had not been done cinematically to Davies' satisfaction. (He didn't have kind things to say about the performances in the 1955 version.)

Although they used a Panaflex camera, the lenses they shot with were 40 years old. For some scenes, the cinematographer placed a piece of nylon behind the lens to give the film a softer look.

Davies doesn't go to new movies. He says he can no longer suspend his disbelief. But one day, when he was bored with the book he was reading, he turned on the telly and saw the most luminous woman onscreen. Looking her name up in the end credits, he called his producer and asked if he'd ever heard of an actress named Rachel Weisz. "Terence," said his producer, "you're the only one who hasn't."

The film is about love. The three main characters all need a certain kind of love from each other, but they are unable to get it, and the others are unable to give it. It would have been easy enough to make the "cold" husband an ogre, but there are no villains in this film.

The way Davies weaves the past and present together is dreamily seamless, equalled only by Resnais.

There is a bit of Dennis Potter in Davies' affection for old pop songs.

The movie is very sad.

Nathaniel, the Q&A entitled "Master Class" included on the DVD I watched had the same anecdotes. Was it the one you attended?

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Just watched this last night. I liked it quite a bit, even if I'm not utterly enraptured by it. I've been watching a great deal of Japanese cinema lately, all of which seems to be haunted by the spectre of Hiroshima and the war. The same thing struck me about this film (which is unsurprising given what I know about Rattigan and the post-war English playwrights), and I went a little bit into how the war acts as defining era for the characters in this story. I agree with those who praise Rachel Weisz' performance as well as Davies' masterful filmmaking. As I remark at the end of my review, those things elevate the film above other similar takes on the material.

Saw it this evening at the Aero Theatre. Liked it, although the experience of the film itself was eclipsed by the Q&A afterward with Davies, who was very generous and animated. Some things I learned about the film:

Davies did not originally choose the material; the producers came to him wanting to adapt a Terence Rattigan play. Since The Browning Version and Separate Tables were already filmed memorably, they settled on one that had not been done cinematically to Davies' satisfaction. (He didn't have kind things to say about the performances in the 1955 version.)

Although they used a Panaflex camera, the lenses they shot with were 40 years old. For some scenes, the cinematographer placed a piece of nylon behind the lens to give the film a softer look.

Davies doesn't go to new movies. He says he can no longer suspend his disbelief. But one day, when he was bored with the book he was reading, he turned on the telly and saw the most luminous woman onscreen. Looking her name up in the end credits, he called his producer and asked if he'd ever heard of an actress named Rachel Weisz. "Terence," said his producer, "you're the only one who hasn't."

The film is about love. The three main characters all need a certain kind of love from each other, but they are unable to get it, and the others are unable to give it. It would have been easy enough to make the "cold" husband an ogre, but there are no villains in this film.

The way Davies weaves the past and present together is dreamily seamless, equalled only by Resnais.

There is a bit of Dennis Potter in Davies' affection for old pop songs.

The movie is very sad.

Nathaniel, the Q&A entitled "Master Class" included on the DVD I watched had the same anecdotes. Was it the one you attended?

Were you able to identify the moderator? I think

conducted the Q&A at the Aero.

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