Deep End

1971

Deep End

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

85%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 20

75%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 810
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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.

Cast

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
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
View All

Critic Reviews for Deep End

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (3)

  • 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.

    Dec 13, 2011 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    May 8, 2011 | Full Review…

    Philip French

    Guardian
    Top Critic
  • A highly original slice of London life, beautifully made.

    May 6, 2011
  • Everything about this singular film - the camerawork, the imagery, the soundtrack - feels vibrant and surprising in a way that makes most modern coming-of-age movies look formulaic and, well, shallow.

    May 5, 2011 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

    Steve Rose

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

    May 3, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Dave Calhoun

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • A film that deserves a better ending.

    Jul 7, 2007 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Deep End

  • Dec 19, 2011
    At the age of 15, Mike(John Moulder-Brown) gets his first job as a men's attendant at a public baths, where he is told by the manager(Karl Ludwig Lindt) that someday all of this could be his. Mike's opposite number, Susan(Jane Asher), shows him the ropes while giving him hints as how to get really good tips, informing him of when female customers show up. That gives her time for not only a fiance(Christopher Sandford) but also time for dalliances with the swimming instructor(Karl Michael Vogler). "Deep End" is an offbeat movie that in the end is something of a qualified success. On the one hand, the movie gets certain things right in Mike's rites of passage, namely the parents showing up to embarrass him at work, his first paycheck and encountering people of different backgrounds and ages at work that he would not have ordinarily come into contact with in a place where men and women are supposed to keep to their separate places. Along those lines, the movie's central conflict arises from Mike's inexperience as he misreads Susan's flirtations as something more serious while she sees him as only an adorable kid. But in reality, he is stalking her. However, the movie sets an odd tone by occasionally finding the humor in his actions. While some of it is actually funny in his hopelessness, it is, regardless, kind of disconcerting.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 14, 2011
    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 M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 23, 2011
    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 P Super Reviewer
  • Feb 10, 2011
    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 M Super Reviewer

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