Norwegian immigrant Maren Hontvedt (Sarah Polley) accuses former tenant Louis Wagner (Ciáran Hinds) of murdering her sister Karen (the late Katrin Cartlidge) and sister-in-law Anethe (Vinessa Shaw). Some 130 years later, Jean (Catherine McCormack) is sent to New Hampshire’s Isles of Shoals to take photographs of the crime scene. While on her brother-in-law Rich’s (Josh Lucas) yacht, Jean becomes obsessed with the details of this supposedly unsolved mystery. To guarantee optimum tension and egregious similarities between past and present, Rich’s sexy Brit girlfriend Adaline (Elizabeth Hurley) and Jean’s poet husband Thomas (Sean Penn) tag along for the ride. Kathryn Bigelow takes full advantage of Hurley’s Rubenesque figure, directing the actress as if she were the boat’s mantle piece. The unrhythmic crosscutting between Isles of Shoals past and Isles of Shoals present more or less ensures the one-dimensionality of the film’s characters. Adaline rubs ice cubes on her tatas, getting Thomas’s attention and summoning Jean’s jealousy and psychic, crime-solving abilities. Bigelow reduces her women to green-eyed monsters and her men to lecherous ciphers. More troublesome are the ridiculous accents, naughty storylines, preposterous jazz score and sloppy stylistic flourishes. In the end, The Weight of Water comes to resemble the kind of softcore twaddle you’d expect to see on Showtime’s Red Shoe Diaries.
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