The Deep End

The Deep End


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The world is pristine. Everything in Scott McGehee and David Siegel's thriller has a painterly look. Images are framed to keep the dust out. Even emotions wear clothes.

Tilda Swinton gives a performance of such quality, it catches you unawares. The title suggests indoor swimming, when there is only the clear beauty of Lake Tahoe and little control, once Margaret Hall (Swinton) discovers the body of her son's lover on the beach under the pier.

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This is a story of deception and blackmail. It flows like mercury through the veins of the plot. It is also the story of a mother, attempting to guard her children against dangers beyond her reach.

At the centre are three people - Margaret who hides the body to protect her family, Alek Spera (Goran Visnjic) who has a videotape of her 17-year-old son having sex with the dead man and Beau (Jonathan Tucker), the boy himself, who is unaware of what destruction he has unleashed.

The relationship between them changes as ultimatums pass and accidents happen. Margaret's inherent decency is of no help to her now. She has stepped off the parapet, where fear is the only enemy.

The writer/directors, who caused a stir on the arthouse circuit with their 1993 debut, Suture, have avoided every cliche of film noir. Also, they reject the fashion for hip hop editing and handheld intimacy, reaching beyond a threat of violence to the beating heart beneath.

Reviewed on: 10 Aug 2001
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The Deep End packshot
A mother tries to protect her son from suspicion after his lover is found dead.
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Director: Scott McGehee, David Siegel

Writer: Scott McGehee, David Siegel

Starring: Tilda Swinton, Goran Visnjic, Johnathan Tucker, Peter Donat, Josh Lucas

Year: 2001

Runtime: 100 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


EIFF 2001

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