The Deep End

"Good"

The Deep End Review


Welcome to beautiful Lake Tahoe, where a boy can still get his mom to cover up a murder and be home in time for supper.

A heavy drama, The Deep End is just such a tale. When teenaged Beau (Jonathan Tucker) gets mixed up with a seedy, older man (he's secretly gay), their relationship gets a bit too intense and the lech ends up dead. Imagine her surprise when mom Margaret (Tilda Swinton) stumbles upon a corpse on her idyllic beach! Of course, she does what any mother of an aspiring musical virtuoso would do -- sinks the body in the lake, hides the guy's car, and pretends nothing has happened.

Before long, the body is discovered, and the film takes a turn toward a blackmail plot, courtesy of ER nice guy Goran Visnjic. Ultimately this is a film about desperate measures -- a test of how far maternal instinct can take a person. Too bad the execution of that concept isn't as assured.

It's a movie you never saw (and you were lucky), but Before and After went down this road (unmemorably, I should add) a few years ago, only there it was the father willing to cover up the crime. That was a movie with Meryl Streep and Liam Neeson, and even they couldn't pull this plot off, getting oh-so-serious with the moral dilemma and forgetting that there were people looking to the screen for entertainment.

The Deep End learns nothing from that lesson. Moving slowly and deliberately, the film finally comes to a boil after about 90 minutes, but I fear much of the audience will be lost by then. Instead of trying to surprise or dazzle us, the film plays coy, throwing one perplexing plot twist after another such that we are left with surprisingly little explanation for anything we've seen along the way.

It's all vaguely unsatisfying because it's just never believable. For starters, we don't believe that Margaret or her son would never be caught -- or even suspected -- for the crime. And when Margaret finally and tearfully tells us what really happened that night, we don't believe it then, either. The truth, as she tells it, doesn't even seem possible. Combined with the worst fake-trumpet-playing footage put to film, the whole affair just comes off as phony, a gimmick that might have worked on serialized radio in the 1930s but not on the big screen today (oddly enough, the film is based on an old serialized novel called The Blank Wall).

Fortunately, The Deep End is a lovely film to look at, well photographed and populated with universally interesting, nuanced, and surprisingly rich characters. (Directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel's last film was Suture, way back in 1993.) That only takes you so far, of course; it's also worth noting that the sound design and film editing are amateurishly bad.

As its centerpiece, Swinton owns the film as she so often does, her very spare facial features a mask upon which every emotion under the sun is projected. Would that those emotions made a little more sense in the context of the plot.

Don't get up for us.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 101 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 17th October 2001

Box Office USA: $8.3M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: i5 Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Fresh: 95 Rotten: 21

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Margaret Hall, as Alek Spera, as Beau Hall, as Darby Reese

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.