The Deep Blue Sea

In postwar London, an emotionally volatile young woman (Rachel Weisz) flees her marriage to an aloof magistrate (Simon Russell Beale) for an affair with a differently aloof ex-RAF pilot (Tom Hiddleston). Destruction ensues. As adapted and directed by Terence Davies, Terence Rattigan’s 1952 play transcends merely tasteful period English melodrama; expectedly well appointed and well shot, it’s also somehow newly vitalized, a smoldering cauldron of soft lamplight and exquisitely intense feelings. Davies’ directing style is a carefully modulated meditation, and the script eschews sentimentality in favor of abetting elegant performances. What a pleasure, if also a heartbreak, to see how well these three actors respond. For aspiring thespians, or anyone who appreciates great displays of range, a Hiddleston double-feature of this and “The Avengers” is recommended.

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