The Deep End (2001)

The Deep End is a movie by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, starring Tilda Swinton, Goran Visnjic and Jonathan Tucker.

Margaret Hall (Tilda Swinton) is worried: her son Beau (Jonathan Tucker) has an affair with night club owner Darby Reese (Josh Lucas). Not willing to discuss his sexuality with her son, Margaret rather goes to Darby and tells him to stay away. But Darby goes to Beau anyway and the two guys get into a fight. After Beau leaves, Darby stumbles and dies. The next morning, Margaret finds his body, assumes that Beau has killed Darby and decides to cover it all up. But things are far from over: Alek (Goran Visnjic) turns up and tells Margaret that he has evidence of the affair between Darby and Beau and he tries to extort her with that knowledge.

The Deep End is a thriller, noir style. That’s not really the kind of thing I usually like. But even if it was, it still would only be an average film with a mixed cast, some logical fallacies and problems with the pacing. If you like thrillers, I guess you could do worse, but it’s not a must-see.

[Minor Spoilers]

There are many things going on here – maybe too many to do them all justice. Beau’s homosexuality, for example, is never discussed, it’s a plot device and nothing more (because you obviously couldn’t extort someone with a tape of “normal” sex, could you?). Which is a pity, because there would have been a lot room of discussion since Margaret obviously isn’t comfortable with it at all. And because the portrayal of homosexuals was rather stereotyped. [Darby Reese = predatory gay man. Beau = sensitive, artistic gay man.]

Equally, that Margaret starts to suffer from Stockholm syndrome and kind of falls in love with her extortionist (who doesn’t mean what he does anyway and look here, he even tells Margaret not to pay his half, only the half of the people he extorts her for and boo-freakin-hoo).

Tilda Swinton acts very well and Goran Visnjic mostly does a good job. But Jonathan Tucker’s Beau stayed completely bland, like there’s no personality behind the face.

Unfortunately, the pacing was off: Everything kind of strolls along, ambling from here to there and then there’s the finale.

And if I never have to see another movie that touts the bonds of motherhood as the greatest thing ever, it’s not too soon. Seriously, people: Mothers don’t have a special bond with their children that nobody else can achieve. The special bonds come through spending a lot of time with each other and getting to know each other and seeing each other grow older and anyone who takes the time can get them. There’s no mystical “motherhood” thing. It’s a really close relationship and like all relationships, it takes work. *grumble*

Well, anyway. If you like thrillers, it’s fine. But it’s not the movie of the century. Not even the movie of the noughties.

1 thought on “The Deep End (2001)

  1. Pingback: The Deep End (2001) | All Films Blog

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