Format: AC-3, Blu-ray, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
Language: English (DTS 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Dubbed: French, Spanish
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Number of discs: 1
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Run Time: 101 minutes
Following the celebration of Mother’s Day is the Blu-ray release of a movie about the lengths a mother is willing to go to in order to protect a seemingly guilty son from the implications of murder. This one idea carries the entire thriller, often making this 101-minute thriller drag more than necessary, with only Tilda Swinton’s performance remains consistently captivating. It is unfortunate that the screenplay by Scott McGehee and David Siegel couldn’t have offered more logic, dialogue or excitement to this performance.
Swinton stars as housewife and mother Margaret Hall, though there is a neglect within The Deep End to give any of the various characters a connection for accurate portrayal of family. There are no scenes where this family acts like a family, just disjointed scenes that quickly delve into the suspenseful situation without setup or back-story. Therefore, when we are given the information that Margaret’s son (Jonathan Tucker) is involved in a relationship with a seedy and villainous older man (Josh Lucas), it has little impact or relevance. There is similarly little at stake in the relationships within the film when a character suddenly and accidentally dies on Margaret’s property.
My biggest issue with this film is the lack of any communication. The family members don’t talk to each other at all, to the point that a corpse can appear in Margaret’s back yard and she doesn’t bother asking anyone else living in the house with her if they are aware of the dead body. This is meant to be a portrayal of a mother’s love, but we are never given any signs of the connection to her son, much less her husband. The film instead stays primarily focused on the act of cover-up, which goes noticed by someone other than her family.
When Margaret is being blackmailed for her actions to hide her son’s involvement in the questionable death, she is given the closest thing to a relationship that this disconnected thriller has. At first attempting to get money from her before becoming enamored for an unexplained reason, a man name Alex Spera (Goran Visnjic) appears to blackmail Margaret for what she has done. The film becomes more about an unspoken bond between these two characters, and the son and his accidental murder slip away from the plot entirely.
The Blu-ray release of the film does little for the enjoyment of each viewing experience. This was a moderately budgeted independent film when released in 2001, and the high definition doesn’t offer any improvement on the picture. The special features, carried over from the DVD, include a commentary track with McGehee and Siegel, a making-of featurette and a segment of “The Anatomy of a Scene,” from Sundance Channel. There is also a trailer and TV spot.
Entertainment Value: 3.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6.5/10
Historical Significance: 6/10
Special Features: 7/10