[box cover]

The Deep End

When is a thriller not a thriller? When the thriller has pretenses of being an "art movie" — in other words, 2001's the Deep End. Tilda Swinton stars as Margaret Hall, a Lake Tahoe soccer mom who's somewhat over-involved in her oldest son's life. The cold-fish wife of a frequently absent naval officer who spends months on end at sea, we first meet Margaret as she's warning Darby (Josh Lucas), a sleazy Reno nightclub owner, to stay away from her 17-year-old son, Beau (Jonathan Tucker). It seems the two have been having a not-quite-legal sexual relationship, and mom will have none of it. Darby, of course, ignores her warning and sneaks by the house that same night. When Margaret finds Darby's dead body on the beach next morning she (naturally!) assumes that Beau killed him. Like any good mother would do, she wraps up the corpse in a tarp, somehow lugs it into the family's small motorboat, and dumps it in the lake. But just when it looks like she's cleaned up the mess, it seems she needs this intrigue to liven up her joyless life, and she's so lonely that she finds herself falling for her blackmailer. The problem with The Deep End is that it doesn't really know what kind of film it is. It plays as a character-driven indie film, but in the last third devolves into TV-movie level melodrama. As an actorly picture with gradually revealed characters and a lot of yummy, wet cinematography, The Deep End succeeds beautifully. It just isn't especially thrilling. Fox's DVD release offers a crisp anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) and clear Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, with subtitles in English and Spanish. Extras on board include a droning, self-important commentary track by writers/producers/directors Scott McGehee and David Siegal, a very tedious Sundance Channel "Anatomy of a Scene" featurette which devotes 30 minutes to deconstructing a scene between Swinton and Visnjic, a "making-of" featurette, still photo gallery, and theatrical trailer. Keep-case.
—Dawn Taylor

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