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I saw the world premier of Deepwater at the Seattle International Film
Festival. It's the director's first film, shot on a limited budget, and
an excellent film.
In the first scene, Nat, the main character, gets out of a hospital and tells the nurse he wants to go to Wyoming to take up ostrich farming. On his way, he stops at a car accident and picks up Herman Finch (Peter Coyote), and ends up going to a small town called Deepwater.
Finch is involved with the local casino, apparently run by the mob. He offers Nat a job restoring his dilapidated motel, where the maid is his beautiful, and much younger, wife Iris (Mia Maestro, who attended the premiere).
As Nat begins to work on the restoration, he starts getting to know the characters of this Twin Peaks-ish small town. Michael Ironside, who is creepy on a good day, is great in a supporting role as a local used-car dealer and Finch's poker buddy.
That lays out the basic elements of the film noir, I don't want to say much about the plot for fear of spoiling the film for a viewer.
The film is well edited and visually very nice. Other than the lack of marquee names, it does not appear to be a low budget film. Directing and acting are excellent, the movie is well-paced, and I would recommend it to anyone.
This was the only Seattle Film Festival film I went to, and I was
pleased to find it better than many mainstream movies I've seen. It was
an unnerving mystery that sucked me in and genuinely surprised me.
Peter Coyote's portrayal of a strange motel owner was my favorite part of the film. I've seen Coyote in a lot of movies, and this has got to be the most interesting role I've seen him play yet. You're never sure if you want to love him or fear him, and that ends up working perfectly for the plot.
Deepwater had a lot of creepy, stylish, music-video type moments. The camera work was beautiful, and once you get to the end of the movie, the style of these sequences makes even more sense. I didn't feel like these scenes took away from the dramatic moments which were the core of the movie.
The director answered questions afterwards, and I was surprised to hear him talking about how low the budget was. He described some of what he would have done with a bigger budget, but I found myself wondering if the small budget helped force them to really focus the story. It's too late this year, but after seeing Deepwater I'm going to make sure I see more films at next year's festival.
I wonder if the reviewer I'm thinking of even watched the film. Like,
for instance, not realizing that Nat got the car keys from the guy who
was beating the crap out of him in the bar. And set in Louisiana? Sheep
OK, it was a bit disjointed in places, but not so much that anybody paying attention couldn't follow the action. The main thing, for this type of movie, is to keep you guessing. This it did, right up to the end. Peter Coyote was brilliant, and Lucas Black got it pretty spot on as well. All the supporting cast were top notch.
The trouble with any film that relies on a surprise ending is that it rarely invites repeat viewings. Alas, such is the case here. Otherwise, I would've given it one or two more stars. But it gave me a good ride, and that's all I expected. I'll be looking for more from this director.
Where was I when this movie came out? I don't' remember it EVER coming
out. But I was at the DVD rental store and saw this movie, and since
all I wanted was to lie down and vegetate, I rented it because the cast
was interesting and I thought I'd give it a try. It seemed like a big
mistake at first. The first 45 minutes had me reaching for a magazine
to read at the same time, because I was sure I knew what was going on,
and some of the characters seemed, well, stupid. And I hate stupid
characters... but after seeing it in it's entirely, it has really stuck
Rent it, hang in there, and you'll be in for a treat.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
**SPOILER ALERT** After a stay at the hospital recovering from an ankle
injury Nat Banyon, Lucas Back,goes on the road hitch-hiking to Wyoming
to open up an ostrich farm. At some truckers rest stop bar Nat gets
beaten up when he grabs a patron's hand who may have mistakenly thought
that he was trying to proposition him. In the confusion Nat get a hold
of the patron's car keys, that he accidentally dropped, and takes off
with his sports car.
Driving throughout the night Nat, struggling to say awake, spots an overturned car and saves the driver Herman Finch, Peter Coyote, just before his car was totaled by an oncoming truck. Finch very appreciative of what Nat did in saving his life gives the young man a job at his motel as an all-around handy-man. Later Finch get's Nat a car that he's to pay him back by the work he does at his place.
Nothing really seems to be right with the movie as we get a number of sub-plots that makes an attempt to explain just what Finch is involved with. Finch comes across at first as a good natured and friendly person who's more then grateful at what Nat did for him but. At the same time we, and Nat, get this very disturbing insight about Finch that he's a local mobster who's involved in a number of unsolved murders that he uses surrogates to do his dirty and criminal work. Later we get to see some of Finch's friends a used car dealer Walnut, Michael Ironside, and Native American Joe Littlefield, John Boncore, who's being groomed by Finch to take over the management of a casino that he runs. there's also Finch's very young and attractive wife Iris, Mia Maestro, who works at her husbands motel as a cleaning woman.
Very early in the movie we, and Nat, saw Finch get into a violent argument with Sal, Jason Cerboe, who later after being kicked out of a card game, between Finch Walnut and Littlefeet, disappears from sight and is found days later in the lake murdered. The same thing happens to local cop Newell, Brett Watson,who seemed to be on to Finch's sleazy activities and tried to warn Nat about him and his under the table dealings. Officer Newell is later found in the woods dead and decomposing with murder being the only reason for his sudden and untimely demise.
Finch himself is about as weird as can be in his relations with Nat by moronically trying to get Nat in tip top shape for a boxing match with him? Nat with rippling muscles and his boxing skills razor sharpen by the hard and rigorous training routine, that he was put under by Finch himself, as well as being some 30 to 40 years younger then the out of shape and cigar chomping Finch would kill the crazy old nut in the ring with one hand tied behind his back! Had Finch already lost his mind and now want's to lose his marbles with a solid left hook to the temple as well?
while were left in the dark to what exactly Finch is planning***MAJOR SPOILER*** we overlook what was the reason for Nat's interment in a medical facility and even more important is he fully recovered from the the illness or injury that he was there for?
The movie sets you up for a real shock that, in many ways, it leaves clues to get you ready for it. The big fight between Nat and Finch is done in all seriousness with Nat completely falling for Finch's line but what Finch is totally unaware of is that Nat is a bit, that may be understated, abnormal and also has some kind of weird attachment to him. This makes you wonder about the strange bar scene early in the film, that's slowly driving Nat off the deep end and into the deep dark and dangerous waters of his subconscious and unbalanced mind.
A Southern boy (Lucas Black) gets a job working at a motel near an Indian reservation and casino. He discovers that the motel owner (Peter Coyote), a 1/8 Indian, is involved in a corrupt scheme with his Indian friends to get control of the casino. Some people are killed and the Southern boy believes the motel owner is responsible. The Southern boy has a fling with a waitress (Lesley Ann Warren), but becomes obsessed with the motel owner's wife (Mia Maestro). The boy hatches a plan to steal the husband's cash and run away with the wife. Before he does, he must engage in a challenge boxing match with the motel owner, an aging former pro boxer. The cast of characters in this movie are very interesting and the acting is really good. The atmosphere is eerie. This movie held my interest completely and I am easily bored. This movie deserves better than the 5.0 rating at this writing. I grade it an 8.
After recovering from a twisted ankle, the drifter Nat Banyon (Lucas
Black) hitchhikes on the road, trying to reach Wyoming, where he dreams
on having an ostrich farm. However he has an incident in a bar and he
steals a car from the guy that was beating him. He heads to Wyoming,
but he sees a car accident and he saves the driver Herman Finch (Peter
Coyote), who owns the Deepwater Hotel. While spending the night in the
hotel, Nat is arrested by the police, but Finch releases him from jail
and proposes Nat to paint his hotel. In return, he gives an old blue
Chrysler Newport to Nat, and lodges and feeds him in the hotel. While
painting the hotel, Nat becomes obsessed on Finch's wife Iris (Mia
Maestro) and discovers that Finch is a loan shark and corrupt. Further,
he has a scheme with the car dealer Walnut (Michael Ironside) and his
partner and with the Indian Joe Littlefeet (John Boncore) in the local
casino and is protected by the corrupt police of Deepwater. After the
mysterious death of a local and a policeman that had issues with Finch,
Nat decides to leave Deepwater; but Iris seduces him and convinces Nat
to travel after a box match promoted by Finch and stealing a large
amount from the safe. On the day of the fight, Nat discovers the hidden
secret in Deepwater.
"Deepwater" is a surprisingly great thriller that uses elements of film- noir and a twist that slightly recalls "Identity". The plot is supported by an excellent screenplay; great debut in the direction of the unknown David S. Marfield; top-notch performances of Lucas Black and Peter Coyote, supported by the veterans Michael Ironside and Lesley Ann Warren and the sexy and gorgeous Mia Maestro. The totally unexpected twist is a huge surprise that explains the flaws I believed there were in the story. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "Deepwater, A Cidade do Medo" ("Deepwater, The City of the Fear")
I will confess that the choices that director Marfield has made
concerning cast and crew make me somewhat more sympathetic towards
"Deepwater" than I otherwise might have been. Lucas Black is an
underrated actor who deserves bigger roles and Charlie Clouser's
NiN-like music suits the mood of the film very well. But I think the
film has merits of its own. Compared to fellow indie/festival flick
"Down in the Valley", which has some interesting similarities,
"Deepwater" feels much more genuine to me.
A young man just out of ... well, some sort institution winds up in a small town working for a strange fellow (Peter Coyote) and lusting for his wife (Maestro). What initially seems like U- turn revisited turns out to be a quite different film in the end. The acting (mainly from washed-out but cool actors apart from Black) and the mood keep you fairly interested and the fairly down-to-earth tone that the film finally adopts work fine if you ask me. Worth watching, although not a masterpiece by any standard.
Nat (Black) is a stand up kid from his point of view. Which is about the only point of view during the entire movie. He is traveling to California to start over and build a life when he meets Finch (Coyote) and his very young wife Iris (Maestro) who run a hotel called Deepwater, among other side jobs, in rural America. Finch convinces Nat to stay and help fix up the place. Nat gets all sorts of ideas about the other characters. But in the end, everything is not as it appears for Nat. The psychological plot of the film is kept at bay while the seasoned acting keeps your attention over the length of the film. Some action aficionados would find it boring. I would classify it more as a drama than a thriller.
I cannot quite get a handle on this film. It was interesting enough to
keep me interested, but I am still not sure what I saw.
Lucas Black (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Sling Blade) is ostensibly released from a mental institution - or was he? He meets Peter Coyote, who is a really strange guy with his hand in everything.
He also has a hot wife in Mía Maestro (The Motorcycle Diaries, Frida) who has an affair with Black - or does she? People start dropping dead and it is difficult to figure out just who is doing the killing. Is it Black or is it Coyote or is it imagined? I just wish I knew what I have just seen.
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