The Deep End (2001) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Deep End2001

The Deep End (2001)



Critic Consensus: A well-acted film noir with arresting visuals.

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Movie Info

A mother is drawn into a sinister web of blackmail while trying to protect her son in this drama. Margaret Hall (Tilda Swinton) is a wife and mother of three living in Lake Tahoe, whose husband is a Naval officer stationed in the Atlantic ocean. Margaret's oldest son, teenaged Beau (Jonathan Tucker), is gay and has become involved with Darby (Josh Lucas), a disreputable older man whom Margaret does not trust. Margaret confronts Darby and tells him to stay away from her son, but Darby isn't easily dissuaded, and he comes by the house late one night, leading to a fight between Beau and Darby. The next morning, Margaret discovers Darby's body on the beach, with an anchor piercing his chest. Not sure what to do, Margaret hauls Darby's body out to sea, and dumps it where she hopes it will not be found. Margaret tries to get her life back to normal, until a man named Alek (Goran Visnjic) appears at her door. Alek appears to know something about Darby's death, and he definitely knows about Beau's relationship with him; in fact, he has a videotape of Beau and Darby having sex, and he's prepared to make it public unless she'll pay him $50,000. Margaret is in no position to pay the money, but is desperate to protect her son and attempts to reason with Alek. Surprisingly enough, in time it works, and Alek withdraws his request for blackmail money. However, Nagle (Raymond Barry), a local crime boss whom Alek works for, is not nearly so generous. The Deep End was adapted from a novel by Elizabeth Sanxay Holding, The Blank Wall, which was previously filmed by Max Ophuls as The Reckless Moment. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Tilda Swinton
as Margaret Hall
Goran Visnjic
as Alek Spera
Jonathan Tucker
as Beau Hall
Peter Donat
as Jack Hall
Raymond J. Barry
as Carlie Nagel
Josh Lucas
as Darby Reese
Tamara Hope
as Paige Hall
Holmes Osborne
as Loan Officer
Richard Gross
as Deputy Sheriff
Jordan Dorrance
as Dylan Hall
Franco Delgado
as Barrish Brother
Kip Ellwood
as Male Nurse
Michael Pizzuto
as Heavy-Set Officer
Tajma Soleil
as Female Nurse
F.W. McGehee
as Music Teacher
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Critic Reviews for The Deep End

All Critics (119) | Top Critics (31)

For the most part ... the filmmakers and performers invest a high level of intelligence and sympathy into The Deep End.

June 18, 2002 | Rating: 3/4

A rather dull movie, weighed down by its pretensions.

November 19, 2001 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

For all its genre trappings, this is an intelligent, probing study of an ordinary woman under extraordinary duress.

August 31, 2001

The Deep End is the year's best movie since Memento.

August 29, 2001 | Full Review…

The Deep End does what too few films even attempt -- it takes an ordinary life and places it in an extraordinary situation just believable enough to be terrifying.

August 27, 2001 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

The film ultimately fails, either because the premise is too absurd, or the execution isn't absurd enough.

August 27, 2001 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Deep End


Despite the riveting plot summary, the only things that rescue "The Deep End" from being bland are Tilda Swinton's strong performance as a terrified, desperate mother and a somewhat interesting music score. Otherwise, it's dime-a-dozen weekend afternoon TV fare.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer


Tack up another winner for Tilda Swinton! She is an actress that never ceases to astound me. She is such a dominating force onscreen, but she never over acts or overdoes it. The story is really anything new, but amazingly enough its actually pretty confincing. The whole end with Goran Visnjic's character was a bit far-fetched, but everything else seem completely plausible. That is not something that happens very often in Thrillers. Its tense and desperate, Swinton's role almost reminded me of Mellisa Leo's in Frozen River. It pretty visual, and there are some noir touches. I would not say that "The Deep End" and extraordinary or amazing, but it is really good. I was held captive through just about the whole thing, and that does not happen all that often- even with movies I like.

Jake ....
Jake ....

Super Reviewer


Beautifully shot film. A fairly predictable story, made interesting by a great cast and solid performances. In an attempt to save her son from an "unsavory" relationship, Margaret (Swinton) unknowingly sets in motion a chain of events that slowly puts her entire family at risk. And perhaps more interestingly puts her in a positon to better understand how we are sometimes attracted to people who we know are bad for us. Swinton is (as usual) amazing!

Robert C
Robert C

Super Reviewer

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