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

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

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.