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

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Advertisement
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

The Big Sick Movie Review

The Big Sick Movie Review

It may be rather long for a romantic comedy, but this film has such a...

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

There's no reason why this animated comedy adventure needed to be this pointless. Solidly entertaining...

England Is Mine Movie Review

England Is Mine Movie Review

While this is billed as a film about The Smiths' singer-songwriter Morrissey, it's actually an...

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

It's been 20 years since French filmmaker Luc Besson shook up the sci-fi genre with...

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power 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.