The Deep End


  • Tilda Swinton
  • Goran Visnjic
  • Jonathan Tucker
tildainreno (17578 bytes)
  "I'm Begging You! Please try the $8.95 Prime Rib and Shrimp Buffet."

Tilda Swinton is a Big, Bad Sexually Frustrated Mama in this Cool Thriller.



  Sex, or intimate feelings towards another person, seems to be the hallmark of a good thriller. Just look at the past year: The Pledge equated Jack Nicholson's obsession with finding a serial killer to his inability to get laid. Memento had Guy Pearce using his dead wife to justify his murderous rage. And With a Friend Like Harry made Laurent Lucas face some of his more feminine uderpinings in light of his psycho pal from high school. Since most of us in the audience do not know what it's like to worry about the dead body under our house from being found by the police, the best way to connect to the masses is by weaving it around humanity's most insecure and anxious form of communication. Yes, sexual feelings are the scariest things  that most people will ever have to face other than death. And some of us choose to treat sex  like it is a dead body under the house. The Deep End understands this and uses it as a springboard to lift off. The surface tells of a mother who will do ANYTHING to protect her family from the grips of evil. Underneath this, or to look Deep-er if you will, there is a story about characters needing to confront the bards of their emotions.

    Swinton play Margaret Hall, a Reno housewife who has to watch over Grandpa and the kids while husband is out to sea. Margaret's biggest problem is that her son Beau (Tucker) is hanging out with a rough bunch of guys in town. He's also having sex with them, which adds another layer to Ma's distress. One night at the house, she discovers Beau's new boyfriend lying face down in the lake.She goes about hiding the body, which really functions as a way of hiding her son's homosexuality. Then, just when things start to look like they'll go off without a hitch, Alec (Visnjic) shows up with a little too much information about all of this and a demand worthy of blackmail. Not much can be said after that without giving anything away, but let's just say that Mary and Alec start to understand one another on a level far above professional extortion.

    The whole thrust of the film is about how people handle sex when it begins to bubble out of the cauldron. I didn't see Mary's concern about Beau's predicament as homophobic but simply as the fear that any mother would have who has to watch her child enter the dangerous realm of intimacy. The pain that Swinton conveys in her eyes alone can only make her witnessing the loss of innocence all the more dificult. And the only thing I know about Goran Visnjic is that my female pal accompanying me to this referred to him as the" hottie from ER." But he has the almost unseen ability to convey menace and sympathy at the very same moment. Not too bad for a "hottie" if I say so myself.  It must have something to do with how his eyes can express things while her words say something entirely different. Already, I can say this guy has the potential to lap George Clooney at the same point in such an early stage in his career. Above all, the film tells its story in a clever way. The directors use a lot of water whenever characters need to submerge the truth or whenever they need to be cleansed. Margaret wears some pretty drabby clothes until Alec shows up, then red seems to be the only hue in her collection. This exploration of desire and fear is at the core of The Deep End and makes all of the events in the film feel more like a family drama than a tantalizing thriller.

   But screw all of that because it is a tantalizing thriller. It'll make you jump and it never requires the audience to take any major leaps of logic. Indeed, the film shows even minor details and creates a pace that is very similar to that of The Score. The Deep End is a film that allows itself that to get in under the audience's skin through an emotional complexity and a skilled way of storytelling. If you get tired of the pained contrition of parlor-trick flicks like The Others, get yourself out of the kiddie pool and down to the local arts-plex for a dose of real psycho-tension. It may make you a bit insecure, but at least you can respect yourself in the morning.



The Pitch:
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2 Cape Fear's
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1 and a Half Spanking the Monkey's
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3 and a Half for The Deep End
See The Deep End For:
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Swinton Wondering if She Really was the Star of Elizabeth.