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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:

i5 Films | 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, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$8,821,782, 23 December 2001
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

i5 Films See more »
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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

Darby Reese: Beau-Beau, she's a mother, not a moron.
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Crazy Credits

Wild Bill Laczko - Transportation See more »

Connections

Featured in Anatomy of a Scene: The Deep End (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
Victims of love
31 August 2001 | by visualmetaphorSee all my reviews

Taking care of others often involves self-sacrifice, and mothers of most feather will put themselves in harm's way to shield their young. In the THE DEEP END, a modern retelling of Max Ophuls' 1946 thriller THE RECKLESS MOMENT, Margaret Hall is a mother of three willing to do whatever it takes to keep her family safe from the irrational forces that follow her teenage son home one night from a nightclub of ill repute. But mom, played with stoic intensity by Tilda Swinton, quickly learns that heroism doesn't fit on a calendar already packed with soccer practices, trumpet lessons and visits to the grocery store.

Superficially the story concerns a vicious run of bad luck. Noirish events are set in motion when Margaret tries to cover up the accidental death of her son's unsavory friend (Josh Lucas as a spookily playful predator). The next day a man with a dice tattoo on his neck knocks on her door and demands $50,000 to suppress a videotape linking her son to the death, which police have ruled a homicide. The dramatic heart of the film concerns Margaret's dealings with the blackmailer, cagily played by Goran Visnjic, ER's Slavic heartthrob in a less soapy but perversely related role. Mr. Visnjic is credible though never quite menacing as a predator in awe of, and ultimately vulnerable to, his tender prey.

Taken at this level THE DEEP END, luminously shot in the gambling resort of Lake Tahoe, is an eerie joy ride that leans heavily on coincidence to tangle then unknot its plot. But the presence of Tilda Swinton indicates that more is going on here than melodrama. Ms. Swinton is a brilliant post-feminist actress whose work sheds light on paradoxes of femininity and female power. Her earlier films include ORLANDO, in which she explored androgyny and immortality, and FEMALE PERVERSIONS, a Freudian critique of the feminist myth of "having it all." In THE DEEP END, Ms. Swinton's nuanced performance comments on motherhood as a source of both power and vulnerability. A woman may be willing to do anything for her son, as Margaret Hall clearly is, yet still be constrained by a "glass ceiling" of caregiving attachments that prevent her from achieving man-style success. In cinema, the latter typically means blowing the villains' brains out, something Margaret Hall might consider doing if she weren't so busy taking care of her kids and aging father-in-law.

Throughout the film Margaret tries but is unable to reach her husband, a Navy officer on an aircraft carrier somewhere in the mid-Atlantic. His unavailability is more than an inconvenience. Attempting to negotiate with the blackmailers, Margaret finds herself hamstrung when the bank refuses a critical withdrawal without her husband's say-so. Mr. Hall's conspicuous absence and his infirm father's burdensome presence amplify Margaret's predicament, showing how hollow the conventions of marriage and machismo can be. The fact that both men are soldiers, society's designated heroes, is no accident. They defend motherhood in the abstract while remaining blind to a real mother's needs.

Margaret Hall is Ms. Swinton's most reluctant feminist character to date, a woman whose maternal ferocity the family setting renders moot and who must ultimately rely on the kindness of strangers. Her performance transforms THE DEEP END from a good summer thriller to a dramatic critique of the politics of caregiving.


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