Best of
lMovie Review
"The Deep End"
By Mira Harber

   There are movies that you see, enjoy, and forget on the way out of the theater. The Deep End is not one of those movies. It is just the opposite - it stayed with me for days afterwards - disturbing, haunting and subtly disquieting.
   The film opens with Margaret (Tilda Swinton), mother of three & wife to an absent off-shore husband, going to a gay nightclub and asking that Darby (Josh Lucas) -a 30ish sleazeball, moustachioed? gay man, stay away from her teen-aged son Beau (Jonathan Tucker). Beau has just been in a car accident, while drunk, in Darby’s company, and his mother is worried about where this relationship is taking her son. Now this is not the enviroment that one would normally find a comfortable upper middle class woman. Does anyone know where she is and what she is doing?
   The Deep End is about secrets. It is about what can, and what does, happen when people keep them -  from one another, and from themselves. 
   Late on night,  Darcy comes to the house They meet at the boathouse and gets into a fight. Beau, storms off into the house,not realizing that Darcy lost his balance, fell through a fence on the dock and impaled himself on a boat anchor.
   The next morning, as Margaret does an early morning walk, she finds Darby’s body at the dock. She (never really talking with her son) assumes the worst, of course, and sets about moving and hiding the body, and all evidence of the ‘crime’. This involves some really creepy stuff, when she realizes she needs his car keys and returns to fish the keys out of the now submerged/buried , dead man’s pockets.
   Margaret is an immensely capable and private woman. She assumes, wrongly, that her son has committed a terrible crime, and rather than discuss this with him, she just sets about to hide the evidence. With her pale, pale, watery blue eyes, white, white skin, and red hair, Tilda Swinton is an almost unearthly presence. She first made her mark on the cinematic world about ten years ago when she played Orlando, a man who becomes a woman, whose life we follow for four hundred years. She is a riveting actress, and entirely believable as the misguided parent who will do anything for their spoiled child.
   Her children are the typical by-products of an over-easy, super affluent lifestyle - self-absorbed and oblivious to anything that doesn’t directly affect them. But she loves them nonetheless - she helped create them didn’t she?
   Her husband is off-shore on a military vessel - absent throughout the movie, and it looks like, absent from their lives generally.
Tilda and her three children share their home with her kindly, but largely ineffective father-in-law. She keeps her distance, and secrets from him too.
   Into this mix enters the blackmailer Alex (Goran Visnjic). He has an extremely graphic video-tape of her son and the dead man which he plans to release to the authorities unless she comes up with $50,000 by tomorrow.
   One of the things that I liked about this movie is that it didn’t dwell on the fact of her son’s homosexuality - he is gay, but he is also a talented musician, and her loving son.
The relationship that develops between Alex and Margaret is an interesting one indeed. Although she is terrified, she still must function as a mother to her children, and run the household. She has a 4:00pm deadline to meet Goran the next day, which she misses, while trying to maintain her home, pick up children and raise the blackmail money.
It turns out that Alex is not all bad - in fact, as bad guys go, he’s pretty nice. But he too has a higher voice to answer to - his ‘partner’ is a truly evil man, who doesn’t want to hear excuses, he just wants the money. If some pain has to be inflicted on the way, so much the better.
   Life is not often easy, and secrets such as these make it more complicated than any of us would ever want. The ways in which the relationships in The Deep End develop, and the twists and turns that conclude the film will end up staying with you for days. 
   The photograhy deliberately is washed out and somewhat desolate looking - Lake Tahoe is made to look like the Pacific Northwest - those cold, grey, pale skies - the cold, pale heroine - all make for a haunting movie. Don’t miss it.


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