The Deep End
Scott McGehee & David Siegel
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A run of the mill housewife (Swinton) discovers that her son (Tucker) may have murdered his secret gay lover. Disturbed by all these events, she faces a new dilemma when a stranger (Visnjic) shows up with a video tape of her son and his "friend" doing the gay nasty and dips her into the murky pool of blackmail.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Although very slow-paced, this film does deliver some thrills and you have to give it props for being pretty original. On the other hand, some scenes are thrown in there for little to no purpose and it does drag on at times. The mood is pretty constant and Swinton does a great job as Margaret Hall, of keeping it very sober. Although her character doesn't really overreact and manages to keep her cool with everything falling apart around her, she manages to convey a very strong sense of inner-anguish and the sort of torment that kills you when you have no one to speak about it to. Visnjic also impresses in his turn as Alek Spera, the blackmailer/businessman who shows up one day with the video tape. Only problem with his character is that he undergoes a serious changes in the movie and it just seems to happen a bit too fast.
The topic of the film is actually pretty heavy and throughout, it's difficult not to feel for Swinton's character or to just at some point wonder what you would do in this situation... should she keep fighting, or is it just to much and just way easier to give up and go with the game? Seeing the life her son seems headed towards, should she just let it be and hope for the best or will her maternal instinct overcome her shock, her fear and her emotion? The film also comes with a nice twist in the end which is good in the sense that it's unexpected but doesn't overwhelm the rest of the movie and render it senseless. There's nothing I hat more than watching a film for 2 hours only to find out that the only important part was the last 5 minutes (If that kid from Sixth Sense is reading this, you're the one I'm talking about jerk!!)
The film is actually billed as a thriller but there are no real "thrills" in the movie sense of the world. No cheap thrills actually, more of a pervading sense of discomfort and of unease. You just sort of watch this poor woman try to get out of her predicaments while still trying to deal with her everyday life and you can't help but be grateful that you're not in her shoes.
I can't say as I was very impressed by the bonus material on this DVD. There wasn't really much and what was there was actually pretty boring. Let's start with the commentary track from writers/producers/directors McGehee and Siegel. Aside from being incredibly gay, these two guys are also quite boring. They both state from the outset that they have a head cold and then they go through the track talking like two guys who've just emptied out a carton of Sudafed. Not only do they sound like they're sleeping, but they just drone on and on to the point where I as unable to operate heavy machinery after I listened to the track!
Following that, you'll be treated to 25 minutes of one of the most pretentious documentaries I've ever seen. "The Anatomy of a Scene: Sundance Channel" features the two directors along with the apparently all-gay crew on the film. They all act really artsy-fartsy and discuss contrasts and stuff like that. If you're shooting your own film next week you might want to pick up a pointer or two, but for the average viewer (and boy am I average!!), it just doesn't connect. This is followed by a 2 minute featurette entitled "featurette" which is basically Tilda Swinton talking about the movie like she's reading the test from the trailer.
Next thing you know, you're watching the trailer and a TV Spot, both very enticing. They lead into a Still Gallery in which you can see some shots from the movie.
Overall, this film is like no other I've seen in a while. Fantastic performances, a difficult topic to tackle and a great atmosphere are what make it work. Add to that some great looking shots and you've got yourself a hit. I can't say as it has a lot of re-watch value though, I just don't think it would be that effective the second time around, and the material on the DVD is sort of weak. It should definitely be a rental next time you're looking, but you could buy a worse movie. A success.