The Deep End

by Kilian Melloy
Friday May 23, 2014

The Blu-ray release of Scott McGehee and David Siegel’s 2001 domestic drama / crime thriller "The Deep End" looks fantastic on the new hi-def format, but delve beneath the surface and you’re left to wonder why this film, of everything from Tilda Swinton’s catalogue, should be trotted out for re-release on the home video market.

Simply put, this is a bad movie: Poor pacing, poor plotting, terrible dialogue and lousy performances to match. The only thing blockier than the story beats are the caricatures the film trades in.

Swinton plays a mother of three whose eldest son, Beau (Jonathan Tucker) has been embroiled in a gay love affair with a seedy club owner (Josh Lucas). Goran Visnjic ("ER") fails to launch a film career with the role of a tough guy who’s not so tough, and who ends up being the family’s protector. Money, accidental death, blackmail, a sex video... it all gets swirled up into a potboiler that never actually boils because the film is so fussily concerned with obtaining a cool, noirish sensibility. (It fails.) Less tawdry than tedious, "The Deep End" could happily have remained in cinematic oblivion.

The extras are nothing special and are blearily lo-def. The "Anatomy of a Scene" Sundance Channel Featurette does offer some interesting tidbits about the film’s lineage, though: "The Deep End" was drawn from a 1947 novel, "The Blank Wall," by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, and was first filmed in 1949 under the title "The Reckless Moment." There’s also a Making-Of featurette and audio commentary by the directors, who also co-wrote and produced the film.

Swinton completists may enjoy seeing her put on an American accent and attempt to play a woman far less capable than the actress herself usually is, and anybody who remembers Visnjic will enjoy a flashback dose of eye-candy while marveling at how his film career fizzles right here before them.

"The Deep End"

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor, writing about film, theater, food and drink, and travel, as well as contributing a column. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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