The Deep End Reviews
A fairly predictable story, made interesting by a great cast and solid performances.
In an attempt to save her son from an "unsavory" relationship, Margaret (Swinton) unknowingly sets in motion a chain of events that slowly puts her entire family at risk. And perhaps more interestingly puts her in a positon to better understand how we are sometimes attracted to people who we know are bad for us.
Swinton is (as usual) amazing!
[font=Arial][color=darkred]Tilda Swinton plays a normal mother living on the banks of Lake Tahoe. Her days usually consist of trying to ship her kids to school on time and handle the duties of the home in the long stretches her Naval officer husband is gone. She?s juggling responsibilities and chores when her first strike of maternal protection occurs. Her 17 year-old son is, to her great surprise, in a relationship with a sleazy man in his 30s. She discovered this when her son got into a serious car accident while this paramour was traveling with. The scene of the crash is replayed in flashbacks for Swinton as a motivational jump-start for her protection and love.[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred]Swinton tells the man she doesn?t want him seeing her son any longer, but of course he refuses to desist? unless the price is right. This revelation sends her son to a late night confrontation at home that ends in the accidental death of the sleaze. Mom sees her son rush back into the house in the middle of the night and decides to go out and investigate. On her stroll to her horror she finds the dead body of her son?s lover. From that moment on something in her clicks and Swinton clumsily tries to hide the body and any evidence that could incriminate her own brood.[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred]Just when Swinton believes her headaches are over a dark and handsome stranger (Goran Visnjic) visits her one day. He has within his possession a videotape of her son having explicit sex with the dead lover. He threatens to turn the tape into the police and thus destroy the peace Swinton has created. The video can be hers, but she must pay him and his unseen partner the sum of $50,000.[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred]Swinton is best known as the gender-swapping title figure in ?Orlando? based upon Virginia?s Woolfe?s story. The Scottish actress has a wonderfully pallid face and soulful eyes that express every moment the determination and fear she wrestles with. Swinton gives a remarkable performance of pure emotion. She is a mother determined to protect her son and family at every cost, no matter the means. She is constantly in over her head but refuses to relent. Swinton?s portrayal is a woman running on maternal instinct and she herself is the very gravity that makes ?The Deep End? as great as it is.[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred]Visnjic currently plays a Croatian doc on ?ER? but has a provocative presence in this flick. He?s got the smoldering good looks and his character opens up more and more as the tale progresses to strip away pretensions layer by layer.[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred]?The Deep End? is directed, writen, and produced by David Siegel and Scott McGehee, with only one other film to their credit all the way back in 1993. They inject their story with great moments of character and suspense but also have a terrific visual eye to create mood. The cinematography is lush and hypnotic with certain moments of exquisite beauty. Even the music adds to the feeling of the film unlike so many other accompanying scores. Every component of ?The Deep End? is just clicking.[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred]?The Deep End? is a luminously tight thriller with remarkable performances. They story has a few implausible moments but outweighs them with heapings of great dramatic depth. Swinton better be the first choice on everyone?s lips when the name of Oscar rolls about, because I doubt I?ll see a performance more elegant and wonderful as hers this year.[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred]Nate?s Grade: A [/color][/font]
What catapults Deep End over typical noir films is, without question, Tilda Swinton. Swinton's acting range has long been lauded, and here she completely inhibits her character, conveying a powerful sense of desperation, while also employing a smart cunning. She is surrounded by other strong performances, the most impressive of which being Goran Visnijic, with whom she held a great deal of chemistry.
The script for Deep End is also smart. It gives us scenarios that are grounded in reality, characters with motivations and actions that we can identify with. We understand why they act the way they act, and are therefore invested in both the decisions they make, and the situations they find themselves in. This smart script is complemented by tight direction, which creates a magnificent atmospheric yet intense tone, in the vein of other great noir films, such as In the Bedroom.
While offering us the intrigue of a good noir film, Deep End never forgets to keep the emphasis on the characters and their plights. This emphasis on character dynamics serves the film well, and makes it an overall strong noir piece.
This is a movie about the extent a mother will go to save her teenage son from an adult. She gets in deep monetary trouble trying to satisfy ransom demands. The actress is superb. Blackmale is the game.
There is about 10 seconds of video tape which we can all live without, so wait for it to be shown and then fast forward a minute! We can live without seeing the gross depiction in the video she is blackmailed with. It is very shocking and graphic, so watch it at your peril.
This woman goes to extreme lengths to get protect her son and herself, because the pressure ratchets up from the weird adult to gangsters.
I had some credibility issues with this film in places, but I remember being impressed at the end. Well worth your time. I give it two index fingers up!