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Overall Rating

Awesome: 10%
Worth A Look: 26.67%
Pretty Bad: 3.33%
Total Crap: 18.33%

6 reviews, 24 user ratings

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Deep End, The
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by Greg Muskewitz

"What's with the hurrahing?"
1 stars

Now and then I am at a total loss to explain why certain movies receive as much acclaim as they have from such a high number of sources. Some of those movies might be highly extolled, while others register scores positively in the common critical consensus, as seems to be the case with “Made.”

With that movie in mind, I think the critics were trying to bend over backwards to come off as trendy for the “Swingers” crowd. But I don’t see what they are getting out of “The Deep End.” It may have one or two worthy sanctions for technical elements, but that isn’t the only thing being hurrahed. A complacent, enervated suspense, Scott McGehee and David Siegel jointly write, produce and direct this pulseless thriller about a mother who is blackmailed for $50,000 to retrieve a videotape of her teenage son engaging in homosexual sex with a man whose body turns up at the bottom of Lake Tahoe. We are there to witness the fight between the guys, as well as to see the victim fall to his own death, only for the mother (Tilda Swinton) to move the body out of sight the next day. I suppose that the major deviation in standards of this sort of movie, is that when the pick-up guy and co-blackmailer (Goran Visnjic) is coerced into listening and then seeing the mother’s hardships with money, his conscience kicks in and he tries to help her out instead. Why then? Aside from her lengthy testimonial complaints, what support are we shown to make us believe he would so suddenly and unexpectedly change courses in mid-direction? It happens too fast and it happens without a sufficient reason, and for something of that magnitude — for a criminal to one day change his position in the middle of an act of crime, it’s wholly unlikely. It’s not for the purpose that he thinks he’ll get caught or to avoid legal repercussions, it just happens. Adapted from the novel “The Blank Wall,” the screenplay is terribly scripted with artificial, stilted dialogue and uncompelling and weakly articulate diatribes and arguments. It’s as if McGehee and Siegel are trying to mimic the eloquence and rhythm of David Mamet, but they sound like inexperienced and tacky send-ups. The whole somber and mule-driven pace of “The Deep End” keeps hinting that something is bound to happen, but it never does. It’s such a poor, embarrassing and hollow attempt at filmmaking that permeates of cheesiness and unintentional camp with regularity. The father-in-law character (Peter Donat) is so god-awfully scripted and acted, that when the pathetic character suffers a stroke, it’s hilarious and a relief. Jonathan Tucker, as the gay teenager, is another one horrifically miscast and embarrassing to watch. Visnjic has no emotion and plays the character far too distantly, and Swinton, who I can tell is already being pushed for an Oscar nomination, is stiff, rigid and a cold individual. The whole thing never should have happened. The plowing, dull story could have easily been avoided had Swinton not babied her son so much and came forward with the truth; if the revelation would have ruined him in Tahoe, they could have packed-up and moved on. Only the crisp, vibrant cinematography by Giles Nuttgens and the minimal role by Tamara Hope met any type of criteria. Otherwise, I can’t imagine how one of the worst films I’ve seen so far this year has received the attention it has. And the MPAA’s rating reasons for “The Deep End” enumerated in the small box on the poster and press kit has never allowed such insight into their homophobia. What they consider “a strong sex scene,” is the gay sex scene in which all that is seen is the man laying on top of the teen’s backside with extremely insignificant moving. A breech of the two bodies is never seen, and the viewing from the videotape is a short one at that.

With Josh Lucas and Jordan Dorrance.

Final Verdict: F.

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originally posted: 08/17/01 02:19:40
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User Comments

9/02/11 hurdygurdy man Somehow holds interest, guess waiting for SOMETHING to happen...OK if ya doin time. 2 stars
9/03/08 Shaun Wallner This one was kinda boring. 1 stars
6/05/07 R.W. Welch Sets up well but loses believability as it goes. 3 stars
1/15/07 David Pollastrini not horrible 3 stars
1/13/07 Tiffany it was good. saw it on dvd though. Maybe it was better at the movies. 4 stars
7/02/06 Jack Sommersby Appallingly overrated and riddled with many logic loopholes. 2 stars
11/12/05 jennifer awful 1 stars
9/08/05 eliza c preposterous 1 stars
4/17/04 Michael Greenwaldt A great, smart, engrossing film! Very well acted! 5 stars
7/21/03 francis Has anyone ever seen an anchor lying sharp point up. Too many plot problems. 3 stars
4/15/03 Jack Bourbon I'M IN LOVE WITH TILDA SWINTON. There, I said it. Is something wrong with me? 4 stars
4/12/03 Jack Sommersby Cliches dressed up in artsiness. Well, it doesn't wash. 1 stars
7/13/02 davebo good points and bad points kinda evened out 3 stars
5/27/02 Phil M. Afficianado Read Jim the Movie Freak's review. Story is unbelievable. Swinton unbelievably good. 3 stars
5/21/02 Shrike Slightly dissapointed, but not bad either 3 stars
4/20/02 natasha good acting, good story, interesting water imagery 4 stars
3/02/02 Unagiboy A little disappointed. Visnic's character's turnaround made no sense. Swinton was great! 3 stars
1/08/02 Anne I thought the acting was awesome! Best movie I've seen all year! 5 stars
11/28/01 Jimbo Well made and I enjoyed it 4 stars
10/08/01 adam Awful and absurdly overated.To use the phrase total crap sounds base. But it's appropriate. 1 stars
8/25/01 Suzz great performance by Swinton; a different kind of plot; great camera work. 5 stars
8/18/01 Heather Did Greg see the same movie as me? I loved this movie! 5 stars
8/15/01 ri bisi awesome 5 stars
6/04/01 Bronwyn Preston absolutely beautiful, emotionally rich and complex. I loved it. 5 stars
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  08-Aug-2001 (R)



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