The Deep End

What a surprise! I finally got around to watching this highly rated 2001 film and was gratified to see how complex, beautifully acted and well-crafted piece this is.

Of course Tilda Swinton ("Michael Clayton" and "Orlando") is excellent, that's no surprise. Her character is a Navy wife with her husband at sea and incommunicado. She is saddled with three active, talented children and is also caring for her father-in-law, who lives with them. You see the day-to-day demands on her time and energy, given freely and unquestioningly. Their waterfront home on Lake Tahoe is a well-organized, capably run enterprise with her securely at the helm.

Her oldest son will soon graduate from high school. He is a talented musician who is tentatively exploring his sexuality at a gay nightclub in nearby Reno. Her daughter is taking ballet classes and will be in a performance of "Swan Lake" in the near future. Her youngest son has Little League baseball and his beloved aquarium to keep him busy. The father-in-law is a fairly undemanding fellow, but he does have bad heart.

Enter the villain, the son's recent lover, come from Reno, a handsome seducer played by Josh Lucas ("Sweet Home, Alabama" and "An Unfinished Life") who tosses pebbles at their windows one evening. The boy sees him, is horrified and takes his lover to the boathouse to try to convince him to leave and not awaken the household. After a tussle, the boy goes back into the house and the next morning, his mother spots a corpse in the water by the boathouse. She recognizes him because she had made an unsuccessful foray to his nightclub in an attempt to make him leave her son alone. She quickly jumps to the conclusion that her son killed him and sets about to dispose of the corpse.,

By the time the blackmailers come onto the scene, Goran Visnjic takes you completely by surprise. This actor was such a vile fellow in "Practical Magic" it is hard to see him in any other light, but scene by scene, as his character is affected by his talks with this hard-working wife and mother, the movie becomes more and more involving. She is certain that her career Navy husband would be cruelly hurt by evidence that their son might be a homosexual. Her sole focus is to try to raise the money and claim the blackmail video. Watching her trying to cope with the bureaucracy of banks, credit card companies and other lenders, while folding the laundry and preparing meals, is a wonderful character study.

No spoilers here. Just watch it and then get back to me. Let me know if you like it as much as I did!