The Deep End
The Deep End was released theatrically in 2001 and is based on Elisabeth Sanxay Holding's novel The Blank Wall. Written, directed, and produced by the team of Scott McGehee and David Siegel, the film stars: Tilda Swinton (Margaret Hall), Goran Visnjic (Alek), Jonathan Tucker (Beau Hall), Peter Donat (Jack Hall), and Josh Lucas (Darby).
One morning, Margaret Hall discovers the dead body of Darby Reese on her shore while taking a walk. She suspected that he was her son's secret lover, and had only the other day asked him to stay away from her son, Beau. Thinking he killed him in a lover's spat, she decides that to protect him, she must discard the body in a nearby cove. This she does, and soon after, Alek shows up on her doorstep with a tape – a tape that could incriminate her son in Darby's murder. Now being blackmailed, Margaret must come up with $50,000 to protect her family from finding out the truth.
The Deep End is a highly effective suspense film due mainly to the groundbreaking performance of Tilda Swinton. Swinton is entirely believable as Margaret Hall, a character who deeply loves her children and will do anything to protect them. Goran Visnjic is also quite good as the blackmailer who develops a conscience after learning the entirety of Margaret's circumstances. However, the film is a bit too melodramatic in places, especially the ending.
The Deep End is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The transfer is excellent, without flaws, and free from excessive edge enhancement. Colors throughout are vibrant and bold, especially the shots of Lake Tahoe, which are amazing. Flesh tones appear natural throughout, with solid blacks, though contrast can be, at times, a bit flat.
The Deep End is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 in English and Dolby Surround 2.0 in English and French. The 5.1 track is subdued, but provides the perfect atmosphere for the film, with the rears handling ambient effects. The film's score is amazing, mesmerizing the viewer. Dialogue throughout the film remains crisp and clean with no distortion that I could detect. Optional subtitles are available in English and Spanish.
The main extra on the disc is the screen-specific audio commentary with McGehee and Siegel. The directors share a wealth of anecdotes from making the film, as well as how scenes were set and the locations they used. Though they touched on it slightly, McGehee and Siegel didn't talk much about their co-direction of the film, which would have been interesting to learn more about.
Next up is the highly informative and interesting Anatomy of a Scene featurette from the Sundance Channel. Many of the production crew appear here, talking about everything from the original novel and how it was adapted for this film, to the locations used, as well as the editing and lighting techniques employed for the film. The featurette runs about twenty-four minutes in length. Another featurette is also included, this one simply titled Featurette. Unfortunately, it covers little ground and is mainly promotional, though does feature interviews with several of the stars, as well as the directors. It runs two and a half minutes in length.
Also included on the disc are the trailer and TV Spot for this film, trailers for Sexy Beast, Boys Don't Cry, Stealing Beauty, and Quills, as well as a stills gallery featuring tons of images both from the finished film and behind the scenes.
The Deep End is a wonderful suspense film, highlighted by an amazing performance from Swinton, which fans of the genre should definitely see. Fox has done a remarkable job with the DVD: the picture and sound are terrific and the disc boasts some great extras. Highly Recommended!