WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Deep Water, now available on Hulu.
when the deep water trailer came out, audiences immediately began comparing the film to David Fincher’s 2014 flick, gone girl. It made sense because Gone Girl novelist, Gillian Flynn, was a keen admirer of the deep water book, which Patricia Highsmith wrote in 1957.
Highsmith’s novel influenced Flynn when the latter wrote 2012’s gone girl, which focuses on a demented wife wreaking havoc in a dysfunctional marriage; Flynn also co-wrote the movie with Fincher. And, as expected, both novel-to-film adaptations share a lot of common DNA in how they blend erotica with crime to craft emotional psychological thrillers. Of course, no psychological thriller is complete without a twisted lead character.
Why Was Gone Girl’s Amy Unhinged?
In gone girl, Rosamund Pike’s Amy hated Ben Affleck’s Nick for dragging her back to Missouri after a recession. The writing teacher ended up cheating on her with a student, which sent Amy over the edge. She sacrificed so much and saw this as ungrateful, so she concocted a revenge scheme. She framed Nick for killing her, leaving evidence and diary entries so the cops would have full reason to indict him as an abusive husband.
Amy was such a mastermind that her manipulations and false evidence were hard to refute. Her wickedness stemmed from her not being able to deal with rejection, which is why she also falsely accused an ex-boyfriend of rape years ago. Nick’s infidelities reopened these old wounds, so she went on the warpath.
Why Was Deep Water’s Melinda Unhinged?
In deepwater, Melinda (Ana de Armas) also didn’t deal well with rejection, with past boyfriends abandoning her. She just wanted someone loyal, which is why she let fear of Affleck’s Vic leaving her to push her into mind games. She stayed with him and their daughter de ella, Trixie, but only if she could have extra-marital affairs — most of which she flaunted in public.
Thus, hers wasn’t a secret plot like Amy’s, but one in the open to humiliate Vic based on past insecurities. She wanted to see how far he’d go and if he’d break, even bringing flings home in front of their child. Melinda also starved Vic mentally and physically, using sex as a weapon to torture him, which admittedly brought out a violent side in him regarding her affairs. No matter what, though, she wouldn’t stop because this was her way of gaining agency, power and control over men.
deep water vs. Gone Girl: Which Had The More Twisted Wife?
It’s not Melinda, who laid all her cards bare on the table. Apart from rekindling something with her ex and possibly wanting to elope, she really didn’t hide anything from Vic. The more he saw and knew, the more he’d hurt, and this was the test Melinda wanted to know if he truly loved her.
Amy, however, was much more relentless. Sure, Nick’s infidelity wasn’t called for, but she could have left. Instead, she plotted everything to have him executed while manipulating another ex to take care of her. When she realized Nick might weasel his way out of the charge, Amy then went into overdrive, killing her ex de ella during sex while mutilating herself to be a more believable victim.
That act had audiences grimacing because they couldn’t believe she’d go this far in her sadistic game. Amy eventually returned home to Nick, playing the public by making them think her ex kidnapped her. She forced Nick to reconcile and project an image that they were forging a happy life again, including artificially inseminating herself so Nick would stay. It was a brutal way to keep the charade going, and while Melinda forced Vic to stay as well after unearthing clues he killed Tony, she was reactive — not a reprehensible schemer like Amy.
See how Amy and Melinda stack up in Deep Water, now available on Hulu.
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