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The Deep End (2001)

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A woman spirals out of control while trying to keep her son from being found culpable in a murder investigation.

Directors:

Scott McGehee (as Scott Mcgehee), David Siegel

Writers:

Elisabeth Sanxay Holding (novel), Scott McGehee (as Scott Mcgehee) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tilda Swinton ... Margaret Hall
Goran Visnjic ... Alek Spera
Jonathan Tucker ... Beau Hall
Peter Donat ... Jack Hall
Josh Lucas ... Darby Reese
Raymond J. Barry ... Carlie Nagel (as Raymond Barry)
Tamara Hope ... Paige Hall
Jordon Dorrance ... Dylan Hall
Heather Mathieson ... Sue Lloyd
Holmes Osborne ... Loan Officer
Richard Gross ... Deputy Sheriff
Kip Martin ... BVD
Frankie Loyal ... Barrish Brother (as Franco Delgado)
Kip Ellwood Kip Ellwood ... Male Nurse
Margot Krindel Margot Krindel ... Jackie
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Storyline

With her husband perpetually away at work, a mother raises her children virtually alone. Her teenage son is testing the waters of the adult world, and early one morning she wakes to find the dead body of his gay lover on the beach of their rural lakeside home. What would you do? What is rational and what do you do to protect your child? How far do you go and when do you stop? Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence and language, and for a strong sex scene | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 August 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bleu profond See more »

Filming Locations:

Tahoma, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$141,852, 12 August 2001

Gross USA:

$8,823,109

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,031,529
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

i5 Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Scott McGehee, David Siegel: as the EMTs from the ambulance that arrive to pick up Jack. See more »

Goofs

In one scene Beau can be heard off camera practicing his trumpet then immediately ceases to appear on camera to speak with his mother. A bottle of valve oil is in his hand and one valve of his trumpet has been removed, presumably to oil. However, the time that elapses between his playing and appearance on camera is way too short for him to remove a valve from his trumpet. See more »

Quotes

Margaret Hall: We don't have the money.
Alek 'Al' Spera: You have to get the money. Is that not clear enough?
Margaret Hall: It's $50,000. It is not the kind of thing that everyone can just go out and get.
Alek 'Al' Spera: Have you spoken with your husband?
Margaret Hall: He can't be reached. He's on a carrier somewhere in the nor - This is truly none of your business.
Alek 'Al' Spera: What about the old man? Well, you have to try harder.
Margaret Hall: "Try harder?"
Alek 'Al' Spera: I don't think you're really trying.
Margaret Hall: Really?
Alek 'Al' Spera: Yes.
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Jack Livesey Jack Livesey See more »

Connections

Referenced in Micmacs (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Swan Lake, Op. 20, Finale
Written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performed by Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra
Courtesy of Megatrax Music/Unlimited Classics
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Effective Character Study
9 May 2002 | by jhcluesSee all my reviews

The myriad effects of the natural instincts of a mother are at the heart of this film, which explores the positive aspects, as well as the inherent flaws of those same instincts. The ways in which an ordinary person will react under extraordinary circumstances often produces results that are most inexplicable; and when it's a mother responding to a situation in which her son is involved, the results may, in fact, be absolutely incomprehensible. And in such cases, decisions made quickly in the shadows of the subjective are often revealed as unconscionable in the cold light of objectivity, a scenario examined by writers/directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel, in their tension laced drama, `The Deep End,' starring Tilda Swinton.

Margaret Hall (Swinton) lives with her family in a picturesque lakeside home in Tahoe City, Nevada; but her life is about to become less than that offered by her distinctive surroundings. Her husband is away at sea on an extended tour of duty, and the care and responsibility of raising their three children has fallen to her. And all is not well. Her seventeen-year-old son, Beau (Jonathan Tucker), an aspiring musician who hopes to garner a scholarship to study music at college, has become involved with a man, Darby Reese (Josh Lucas) who owns a bar, The Deep End; and once she is aware of it, it's a situation of no little concern for a mother.

For her son's welfare, Margaret knows that this relationship-- whatever the context-- must end, and she goes to Reese, insisting that he leave her son alone. There is some question as to whether or not he agrees, but regardless, late that night he shows up at Margaret's home, where he entices Beau to come outside with him. Things go badly, and by the next morning, Margaret is embroiled in a situation beyond her wildest nightmares. Blinded by fear and concern for Beau, she does something out of character for any rational person, yet within the parameters established by the unconditional love of a mother for her son. It's an act that brings more bad news to her doorstep, in the form of a man named Alek Spera (Goran Visnjic). And it's the beginning of a series of events that will take her into places darker than any she has ever known.

McGehee and Siegel adapted their screenplay from the novel `The Blank Wall,' by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, and it's a taut thriller, to be sure; but it is so singular of purpose that it decidedly becomes more of a character study that focuses on Margaret, and the effects of that natural bond between mother and son that provides the catalyst for her motivation and the impetus of her actions. It's a story that clearly illustrates how even the most discerning individual (and most especially a mother) will abandon reason in the heat of the moment, giving way to the most primitive and basic instincts for survival that are inherently a part of the human condition. And though MeGehee and Siegel maintain the tension of the situation throughout the film, it does wear a bit thin along the way, and at least one pivotal element of the plot is questionable, and strains the credibility of the overall story. The real interest of the film, however, is the study of what the mother/son relationship is really all about, and how affecting it can be, especially under extreme circumstances.

What really makes the film work, though, and what maintains interest, is the performance by Tilda Swinton as Margaret. And it's quite a feat, given the fact that the emotional boundaries she is given to explore are somewhat limited, as the conflict begins even as the film begins, and Margaret is driven on and presented in an emotional state that gives her very little latitude in which to operate. To her credit, however, Swinton finds all of the variables one could expect in what is basically a lone emotion, which encompasses concern and apprehension, and she conveys them admirably; it is, in fact, what keeps the film afloat. Her portrayal of Margaret is subtle, concise and introspective, and most importantly, comes across quite naturally; all of which makes her character and her actions-- which on the surface and in the cold light of day may seem questionable-- convincing.

As Alek, Goran Visnjic gives a solid performance, though it somewhat lacks the kind of emotional depth that could have made this character more than what it is. Whether it is the way the character was written, or the way it was acted, there is an ambivalence to Alek that makes him less than believable. He looks good on the surface, and Visnjic does have some nice touches, but he doesn't tap into the absolute credibility that he needs. And it makes one aspect of the film seem a little too pat, as if the character is there merely as a means to an end, to help the story along and tidy up the resolution. It's a minor weakness, not worthy of blame; suffice to say that something apparently was missed in the translation of the material from page to screen. In retrospect, Visnjic does a good job with what he is given to work with.

In a smaller, but pivotal role, Josh Lucas gives a good performance as Reese, creating a character that is repugnantly smarmy, a guy whose influence over one's son would be any mother's nightmare. Lucas does exceptionally well in this regard, and with comparatively little screen time; he uses his time well, however, as it is the nature of his character more than anything else that gives credence to Margaret's actions.

The supporting cast includes Peter Donat (Jack), Raymond J. Barry (Carlie), Tamara Hope (Paige) and Jordan Dorrance (Dylan). As a thriller, this one has merit; but viewed as a character study/drama, `The Deep End' is even more engrossing. It's flawed, but it's still smart, thought provoking entertainment-- the magic of the movies. 7/10.


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