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In Love and Deep Water (2023)

In Love and Deep Water (2023)

TV-MA

netflix

A Japanese whodunit more preoccupied with its romance than its mystery

6.0

Movie

Japan
Japanese
Comedy, Mystery, Romance, Thriller
2023
YUSUKE TAKI
Airi Matsui, Aju Makita, Amane Okayama
127 min

TLDR

Maybe this should have just been a cruise ship romance rather than a murder mystery…

What it's about

After being told that his girlfriend is cheating on him, devoted butler Suguru Ubukata witnesses a murder aboard the luxury liner along with seven other passengers. However, the body disappeared before he could inform the ship’s captain. Because the seven witnesses pretend to not see anything, Suguru investigates the death by himself, while getting more and more drawn towards a passenger named Chizuru.

The take

In Love and Deep Water is torn between multiple concepts. There’s a murder, sure, and a butler trying to figure out who’s the killer, but there also happens to be a romance plot where the same butler falls in love with the passenger that informs him of their partners’ infidelity. The film also tries to squeeze in comedy with the way the killers try to hide the dead body, the ridiculousness of some passengers, and cheeky but contextless commentary. While the romance is lovely, In Love and Deep Water isn’t the fun and chaotic murder mystery promised, as it drowns itself with interesting ideas that never really fully pans out.

What stands out

In all honesty, In Love and Deep Water isn’t primarily a murder mystery. The first of Yuji Sakamoto’s five picture deal with Netflix is more of a slow-burn romance, than a twisty-turny whodunit because of two reasons: one, it starts with the idea that Suguru and Chizuru’s partners are cheating on them rather than the murder, and two, we actually see the crime. The idea of two characters becoming close due to a shared goal could have been intriguing– the way they pursue the investigation would have revealed the lovers as their true selves– but unfortunately, the case doesn’t feel relevant or difficult enough for it to matter. It lacks mystery.

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