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Review: 'Deep Water' errs in updating the plot to the present 

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Early reviews have been harsh to "Deep Water." And yet this psychological thriller starring Ben Affleck as Vic Van Allen, a tech tycoon and artsy publisher from New Orleans whose sexy wife, 

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Melinda (Ana de Armas), flagrantly cheats on him, sets us up for a perversely fascinating murder mystery. Too bad there’s no follow through
"Deep Water" is an epic fail when compared

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to the classic 1957 novel by the late, great Patricia Highsmith, who wrote "Strangers On a Train, "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and other crime fiction that tackled obsession with an existential

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dread that evoked -- no kidding -- Dostoevsky. Charming psychopaths, the kind you root for against your will, are a Highsmith specialty
Affleck starts strongly with a detached

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blend of mirth and malice when Vic tells Melinda’s young and dumb new lover, Joel Dash (Brendan C. Miller), that he killed her last boyfriend, the one who went missing. He’s joking but,

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hey, maybe homicide is not such a stretch for a man who invented microchips used in drone warfare
Where the movie errs most is in updating the plot to the present.

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In the book, passive Vic is the essence of 1950s conformity (he’s so slow he keeps pet snails!). Vic has no interest in sex, wanting only to maintain an illusion of propriety so that he and

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Melinda can avoid divorce for the sake of their 6-year-old daughter, Trixie (Grace Jenkins), a casualty of mom’s neglect
Melinda, a natural disrupter, soon bursts Vic’s bubble by brazenly

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parading her lovers in front of him and the neighboring couples they call friends. With his fragile sense of identity shaken -- Vic is all about how other people see him -- the husband is

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goaded to cross the moral line.
Director Adrien Lyne, returning to film after 20 years, is infamous for such sizzlers as "Fatal Attraction," "Unfaithful" and "Indecent Proposal. So there’s no

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way he’s going to neuter a star object of desire like Affleck. Now Vic really is hot for his wife, which turns him into a cliched jealous husband instead of the avatar of fragile masculinity