Deep End (1971) - Rotten Tomatoes

Deep End (1971)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Set at the fag-end of the '60s in a decidedly unglamorous and unswinging London (though actually filmed, very persuasively, in Hamburg), Skolimowski's pleasingly skewed variation on the coming-of-age sex comedy posits a bizarre, totally unsentimental education for its adolescent protagonist (Moulder-Brown), a somewhat naïve school-leaver newly employed at a run-down swimming baths and obsessively pining for a colleague (Asher). Often very funny, and blessed with pounding Can numbers on the soundtrack, it's an original and offbeat delight whose mix of eccentricity and gentle social satire have ensured its enduring status as a cult movie. It's good to have it back in this new digital restoration.
Rating:
R
Genre:
Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Paramount Pictures

Cast

Jane Asher
as Susan
Karl Michael Vogler
as Swimming instructor
Louise Martini
as Prostitute
Diana Dors
as Mike's 1. lady client
Erica Beer
as Baths cashier
Anne-Marie Kuster
as Nightclub receptionist
Karl Ludwig Lindt
as Baths manager
Erika Wackernagel
as Mike's Mother
Peter Martin Urtel
as Mike's Father
Cheryl Hall
as Hot Dog Girl
Christina Paul
as Hot Dog Girl
Dieter Eppler
as Stoker
Eduard Linkers
as Cinema Manager
Will Danin
as Policeman
Gerald Rowland
as Mike's Friend
Burt Kwouk
as Hot Dog Stand Man
Ursula Mellin
as Lady Client
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Critic Reviews for Deep End

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (4)

Skolimowski's Eastern Bloc-existentialist chops finally emerge in the last act, as the futility of looking for a diamond in the snow evolves into a sex-death underwater ballet.

Full Review… | December 13, 2011
Village Voice
Top Critic

Along with music from Can and Cat Stevens, a bizarre, beautiful ending is the high point of this wonderfully mysterious film.

Full Review… | May 3, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

Ostensibly a saucy, knockabout swimming pool romp, it develops into a surreal dive into the waters of destructive sexuality.

Full Review… | April 12, 2016

Deep End is as soaked in pheromones and nervous electricity as its main character.

Full Review… | December 12, 2011
Slant Magazine

In all of the best work of the Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski, there is a barely-there surrealism in play that keeps his films excitingly unsteady.

Full Review… | June 10, 2011
House Next Door

Made in Munich but set entirely in London, it's a bizarre tail end to the swinging London cycle of the 1960s, centring on a rundown suburban public swimming pool and its adjoining private bathrooms and showers.

Full Review… | May 8, 2011
Guardian

Audience Reviews for Deep End

½

This was a transcendent movie experience. Then, at the last second, Cat Stevens broke into the soundtrack and was able to kill the buzz of this movie that somehow combined the sensibilities of Godard and Truffaut ... once you sift out stuff you might see from Roeg and Lester. If Cat Stevens had sang the same song in the last 30 seconds of Taxi Driver, it would have been only slightly less appropriate. Otherwise, throughout the movie, there's a German rock group called "Can" playing a disturbingly modern but tonal score that pulses forward and wants to date the movie in the future, like 1980 -- a scary addition to a movie with two characters who are always rushing ahead of themselves. There is great handheld camerawork that stays warm and intimate with characters at high speeds. Highly recommended, but to avoid what for me was a major buzz kill, a friend has to illegally rip the movie from the blue-ray restored edition and use his/her computer to replace the Cat vocal at the end with some Can.

Adam Mahler
Adam Mahler

Super Reviewer

Skolimowski's theatre of the absurd, sharing a lot of style and approach with Polanski (both were partners in crime for "knife in water") has to be one of the most overlooked and brilliant rites of passage in British cinema. The kind of film so great in its simplicity that makes you think how in hell you didn't come up with something like that for a start. As the main character, I also have a soft spot for ginger, delicate Jane Asher.

Pierluigi Puccini
Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer

Deep End is a practically unheard of film these days - but it's a surprisingly good one that urgently needs a bigger audience. The film is basically a coming of age story involving young love and teenage angst. Despite the fact that everything in this film has been seen before in other films, it all comes together well and doesn't feel like it's just rethreading old ground, which is very much to it's credit. Writer-director Jerzy Skolimowski does a really good job of telling his story too, which means that deep End is an easy film to get along with. The title refers to the film's central location - a swimming pool. We focus on Mike, a young lad fresh out of school who has just got his first job as a pool attendant at the local bath house. On his first day, he meets the beautiful Susan and falls head over heels in love with her. Trouble is, Susan already has a fiancé and while she kind of likes Mike, she doesn't take him seriously...leading Mike to become frustrated and willing to do anything in order to have Susan all for himself. The two central performers are really good and responsible for a lot of the film's success. Jane Asher is absolutely beautiful and it's easy to see why she'd have a young lad lusting after her. Horror fans will likely recognise John Moulder-Brown from classic horror The House That Screamed, as well as Hammer Horror Vampire Circus. He's good here too, and expertly captures the immaturely and lust of youth. The film itself is always interesting and the director keeps the central relationship at the forefront of the film, which helps to keep things interesting. The film is set in 1970's London, and the director does a good job of capturing the gritty feel of the city. A lot of the film takes place inside a swimming baths, but sequences that take place in sleazy corners of the city are among the best of the film. The director does have an eye for sleaze too - some of the bath house punters are rather shady characters, and we've also got scenes set inside a prostitute's room and an adult movie theatre. The ending is iconic and memorable, and manages to tie up all the film's central themes. Overall, this really is a very good film that more people need to see!

Cassandra Maples
Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer

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