Hello, and welcome to my first review for the GV Community page. I thought it would be fitting to send off my maiden voyage with The Deep End.
I must get this out of the way first…wow, that Goran is HOT. Man oh man, he is sooooo fun to look at on the big screen. Gosh, his eyes, his hair, his voice…he's just beautiful. There. I'm done. No, wait…did I mention yet how wonderful it was to see him have such a huge part in a film and not just hidden away in the land of supporting casts and extras? I didn't? Well, let me just tell you, it was a real nice change.
Now, onto the actual film. We've all read the reviews and descriptions and seen the previews on the web (at least I'm assuming you all have), so I won't bore you with a meticulous rehash of the storyline. You don't mind, do you? So I'll move on. I went into this film wondering how can I have sympathy for and care about a character who covers up a murder? That question changes when I realize it's not a murder, but an accident, but Margaret (the main character, played by Tilda Swinton) doesn't know that and she covers it up anyway. My new question is: what kind of family is this? Communication between mother and children is so non-existent that her 17 year old son's best buddy and lover is a 30 year-old nasty skank. She's raised a son (Beau) who thinks it's cool to hang out with the lowest of the low-lifes. She's raised a son who thinks it's no big deal to get drunk underage and drive his car and smash it all to hell. When she tries to talk to him about it, or at least to scold him, he brushes her off rudely—and she let's him. Man, my mother would have ripped me a new…something. I don't know what my mother would have really done, but at least she raised me to respect her enough not to pull that crap in the first place, even when I was 17.
Margaret's husband is a Navy pilot—hey, just like my boyfriend! But unlike my boyfriend, her husband is a fighter pilot stationed on an aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean. That means he's gone about 10 months out of the year. But he's around in other ways, he phones regularly and they have email. Does he know about any of the nastiness his boy is up to? Heck no! And why not? Because this family simply will NOT communicate. And it's this infuriating character flaw that lands Margaret in the fix she's in.
Which brings us to Goran, uh, Alek Spera. It's not quite right how in all the interviews and articles written about this character that Alek is painted as a despicable "asshole" (Goran's word) who does a 180 degree turnaround and becomes a nice guy. Well, I didn't get that at all. You can tell Alek is used to dealing with cutthroat nasty people; drug dealers, gamblers, killers. He behaves accordingly while blackmailing such people. But from early on, Alek can see that Margaret is not like that. She is a well-off woman from the the tony suburbs of Lake Tahoe, raising a family, taking care of her elderly father-in-law, and keepin' on, as they say. His attitude towards her changes and he starts trying to help her almost right away, the only reason he keeps trying to get anything from her at all is because his boss is breathing very heavily down his neck.
This incorrect description of Alek aside, Goran, while heart-poundingly sexy, is really a very good actor. He's definitely not just another hot Hollywood face cashing in on his sex appeal. He really makes Alek Spera believable as a person, a whole person with conflicting feelings and fears and desires. Alek is not just some one-dimensional scary underworld type. He obviously has his own moral code, and will stand by it. He may intimidate criminals into blackmail, but he won't push Margaret too far. He won't destroy her family and he won't let her be in danger. What more could a girl ask for in a dark and brooding hero/villain? Nothing, I'd say.
The way this film is photographed is very beautiful. They make the most of the Lake Tahoe location, and since the original story is from 1947 the cinematographer gives a nod to the old days of film noir. You'll see many shots through glass and mirrors with distortions and reflections, and one intriguing use of a kitchen water tap dripping away into a tense scene.
Scotland's Tilda Swinton is a lovely actor. She's always lovely. Her American accent is virtually flawless, too. If you'd like to see her even more lovely in a movie that's far more involving, watch Orlando, an amazing film from 1992 which stretches Swinton to a very high level.
And of course, there's our Goran. Natch.
Parts of this film are annoying, such as the disposal of the Skank's body, if you're like me, you spend sleepless hours watching all those morbid shows on the "doom and gloom" networks: TLC, A&E, Discovery, Mystery, etc. I watch all those "Investigative Reports", "Forensic Scientists", "Killers and How They Did It", and shows like that. The way Margaret handled the "cover-up" was laughable if you know about those microbes and DNA and evidence stuff, like I do. So if you're a stickler for details and reality, then this is not your film.
Another annoying thing about the film is you never really get to know anyone well enough to have a real opinion about them. Was Beau's nasty boyfriend really so horrible that his death should be covered up, forgotten about and not reported to the police right away? We only assume so, since we are not shown much of anything.
And Alek's power over Margaret? A video of Beau and the nasty boyfriend having sex. Alek's not even trying to say Beau killed him, and it doesn't matter because Margaret is not even sure if he did or not. Confused? A little. Alek wants to give the gay teen porn video to the authorities only to make the connection between the dead man and her son. Really, Beau is only 17, he's not running for Congress, I can't see how this video can destroy his and his family's lives, but Margaret attaches a tragic importance to it.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
If you only see the film for Goran's gorgeous face, screen charisma, and true talent, then you won't be disappointed. If you need believable details to help you care about characters and the sticky situations they find themselves in then The Deep End just doesn't go that deep.
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