The Deep End

Complex characters and moral dilemmas abound in The Deep End, an ambiguous new movie from directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel (Suture), based on the book The Blank Wall by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding. There was already a film adaptation of the book, The Reckless Moment in 1949. Too often these days, movies simplify personalities or problems, leaving much to be desired in terms of plot. The Deep End refuses to draw firm lines of good and evil, and right and wrong. Characters continually shift gears, surprising both themselves and other characters.

At the center of the story is Margaret Hall(Tilda Swinton, The Beach, The War Zone), a harried mother. Her husband is in the military, away and nearly unreachable at sea. It is up to her to care for her three children, including oldest child Beau (Jonathan Tucker, The Virgin Suicides, 100 Girls). She recently discovered that Beau was hanging around with Darby Reese (Josh Lucas, American Psycho, You Can Count on Me), a sleazy owner of a gay bar in town. She implores Reese to stay away from her son, which prompts him to visit Beau at home. After a tussle, Reese mistakenly ends up dead. Margaret discovers his body the next morning, and instantly goes about hiding it.

Margaret figures that with Reese out of the picture, her son will be safe. It is out her sense of motherhood that she does what she does. She does not even realize the full extent of the relationship between Beau and Reese, something that Alek Spera (Goran Visnjic, Committed, Practical Magic) readily tells her. It seems that Reese owed money to Spera, and now Margaret is responsible for the debts. If Margaret does not come up with $50,000 immediately, Spera will release a salacious tape with Reese and Beau.

The interaction between Margaret and Spera is what makes The Deep End so complex. Margaret has never met somebody like Spera, and vice versa. They come from different worlds, and their time together forces each to reevaluate the way they think about themselves and the people around them. In essence, they are at a crossroads, and the hard decisions they make will greatly affect themselves and the people around them. Its rural, mountain setting only forces the viewer to pay attention to the events. There are less distractions to worry about. With as much as there is in The Deep End, it still feels as if there is not enough. Things escalate at the end, in what almost feels like a cop out ending, taking away the tension that McGehee and Siegel strove to build throughout the movie.

Mongoose Rates It: Not Bad.
1 hour, 39 minutes, Rated R for some violence and language, and a strong sex scene.

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