The Deep End

Directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel
Starring: Tilda Swinton, Goran Visnjic, Jonathan Tucker, Peter Donat, Raymond J. Barry.
MPAA Rating: R for some violence and language, and for a strong sex scene.

Review by Eugene Kopman <>
September 18, 2001

The Deep End is based on a novel by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding and is about the lengths a mother would go to protect her own son.

Margaret Hall (Tilda Swinton), after finding out that her teenage son Beau (Jonathan Tucker) spends a lot of time at a gay club called The Deep End which is owned by Darby Reese (Josh Lucas), confronts her son about his sexuality. He ignores her and changes the topic. That same night, Reese drives to the Hall house by Lake Tahoe for a little quickie with Beau. The two get in an argument, which turns into a physical fight. Beau gets away and comes back to the house. In the morning, Margaret finds Darby Reese dead near the lake with an anchor in his chest and a piece of Beau's shirt in his hand. Thinking Beau killed Darby, she takes the body into a boat and drops it into the lake.

Eventually, the police find Darby. Soon after, a man by the name of Alek Spera (Goran Visnjic) appears at Margaret's house and shows her a tape of Beau and Darby having sex. He tells her that Darby owes him and his partner, Charlie Nagle (Raymond J. Barry), $50,000. Knowing that she wouldn't want that tape floating around, he tells her to pay off Reese's debt in return for the tape. Margaret has a dilemma of whether to go the police and risk her family's reputation, or pay the money.

Tilda Swinton and Goran Visnjic give very strong performances, but Tucker whined throughout the film. I wasn't sure if Scott McGehee and David Siegel, the writers, directors and producers of this film, were saying that a closet teen homosexual whines constantly, but it appeared that way. Otherwise McGehee and Siegel did a very good adaptation of the book with some beautiful shots of Lake Tahoe, and some interesting camera angles. The biggest problem with this film is that Margaret threw Reese's body far from her house, but into a shallow part of the lake by a set of rocks. I understand there'll be no movie without that mistake, but that made me a little irate.

For the actor in me: I loved how Tilda Swinton broke the very first rule of acting and yet made it work beautifully. As some know, the first rule of acting is reacting and expressing your true emotions. Swinton's character had to suppress her first and true feelings and react in a manner that she thought would better the situation. You could see her suppressing all her emotions, and yet it worked very well.

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