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THE DEEP END (R)
20th Century Fox
Official Site
Director: Scott McGehee and David Siegel
Producer: Robert H. Nathan, David Siegel
Written by: Scott McGehee and David Siegel; from a story by Elizabeth Sanxay Holding
Cast: Tilda Swinton, Goran Visnjic, Jonathan Tucker

Rating: out of 5


For a self-described film fan, there is no worse feeling than having the lights come up on the latest critically acclaimed art-house sensation and having the thought, “What the hell was THAT?” I mean, I consider myself to be a relatively smart and “with it” guy, so when I don’t get a movie or, at the very least, am bored out of my mind by it, doesn’t that say something about the movie itself? Or maybe I should just stick to reviewing the latest Mary-Kate and Ashley offerings because I am their intellectual equal. Hmmm… ‘Tis a mystery. Either way, the latest critical darling, THE DEEP END, left me feeling cold and a little sleepy. Actually, a lot sleepy.

It’s not that it’s a boring movie, per se. No, in fact there is quite a bit of action and the pacing is kept to a nice clip. It’s just that, despite the creator’s best efforts, none of it is particularly interesting. The story is fairly standard. A mother discovers that her son is involved with some shady characters. “Shady,” by the way, is synonymous with “gay” in this movie. One critic said that this film’s stance on homosexuality was different and very liberal, but from where I was sitting, it looked like the classic gay-equals-evil to me. Very disappointing. Anyways, the son’s lover/drug dealer/whatever is inadvertently killed, inconveniently leaving his body around where just anyone could see it. The mother, played quite well by Tilda Swinton, decides to hide the body and try to cover up the whole mess to protect her son. Sadly, things aren’t that easy. Seems Mr. Dead-Guy had some very outstanding debts and, when the men he owed discover mommy’s little clean-up job, they blackmail her for the money. It turns into a big race by Swinton’s character to get the money and in the mean time, the blackmailer, a smoky and brooding Goran Visnjic, begins to feel sorry for her.

Hands down, the best parts of the film are Swinton and Visnjic. They engage in many feats of acting and come off quite well. Hopefully, Swinton will get some good parts thrown her way because she is what we like to call a very talented actress. Visnjic, on the other hand, needs no help finding parts because he already has a role on that little cult underground show called “ER.” Now, as an avid and psychotically loyal fan of the little hospital-soap-that-could, I already knew what a great actor he was, but I think that the rest of the world will be surprised at the depth and range he gets out of what is really a two-dimensional character. I hereby proclaim him to be the next big thing and if he’s not accepting some kind of major award in the next two years… well then there’s something wrong with the world.

Now, I suppose that we should talk about what didn’t work about the movie. Really, it all boils down to the script, which was one of the more unoriginal things I’ve seen in awhile. Oh sure, the dialogue was realistic and all, but I could see every plot point coming about five miles away, not to mention the fact that it has the worst, kill-nine-birds-with-one-stone ending that I’ve seen in years. I’m all for wrapping up loose ends, but when said ends are tied in a nice little bow and wrapped around the ending so as to make everything perfect and happy, I feel very cheated and not just a bit patronized. Also, here’s a message to the directors regarding all of the water imagery: WE GET IT!!! Water is clear, but it can hide many secrets. Water is pure and giving of life. Water is… ARRRRRGHHHH!!! They could have made this a very short film if they had cut out all of the supple, lovingly shot close-ups of water rippling and flowing in and out. However, if water is your thing, then by all means, check out THE DEEP END. They’ve got all the water you can handle.

To sum up, maybe it’s just me that feels this way, but I really think that some movies get heapin’ helpin’s of critical praise simply because critics think that they’re supposed to like them. THE DEEP END fits that description to a T and I for one am going to call it like I see it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some Mary-Kate and Ashley “Makeover Madness” tapes to review.

—Clint Davis

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

It’s worth a full-price ticket.

It’s worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



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