|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 Darbyís 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 Darbyís 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 Ďcrimeí. 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 manís 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 doesnít directly affect them. But she loves them nonetheless
- she helped create them didnít she?
Her husband is off-shore on a military vessel
- absent throughout the movie, and it looks like, absent from their lives
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 didnít dwell on the fact of her sonís 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, heís pretty nice. But he too has a higher voice to answer to -
his Ďpartnerí is a truly evil man, who doesnít want to hear excuses, he
just wants the money. If some pain has to be inflicted on the way, so much
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. Donít miss it.