The Deep End

What Garbage!
★★★★★
Released: 
2001
Director: 
Scot McGehee, David Seigel
Starring: 
Tilda Swinton
The Setup: 
Poor terse Tilda just wants to be a good mother, which includes hiding bodies for her gay son. The police investigate, criminals are extorting her, and goddamn it, she’s got a roast on!
Discussion: 

This is another of the movies that made me stop going to current movies. I had heard that this movie was really good... but I ended up walking out of it. WHAT claptrap. This is one of those movies where the main character does an incredibly stupid thing in the first ten minutes, and then you are expected to sympathize with her for the rest of the story, when really you’re thinking “Well Tilda, if you weren’t so incredibly dumb, you wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place!”

At the beginning of this movie, Tilda finds a body, which clearly died in an accident. ANY reasonably intelligent person would go straight to the police. So everyone will find out that her son is gay... is that such a big deal compared to being a suspect in a murder investigation? So no, she gets her soccer-mom can-do on, and goes to dispose of the body, which as anyone who has ever lived a day in his or her life knows, is only going to make the troubles worse. That's fine, of course stupid people exist, but I don't want to sit through a 2 hour movie about them. Next why don't we make a movie about a person who decides to chop of their leg one morning, and the rest of the movie can be about how sad it is that this person has no leg?

Also, I've been to the exact spot on Lake Tahoe where she gets rid of the body, and though it does look all "spooky" and "otherworldly," it is perhaps the single worst place on that lake to get rid of a body. But Tilda's character is not known for her shrewdness.

Let it also be said that Tilda Swinton is *not* a great actress. Sure she looks neat and is brave to take cool roles, but I get sick of her TERSE! READINGS! THROUGH! CLENCHED! TEETH! with the overblown drama cranked up to eleven just so we all know HOW VERY MEANINGFUL IT ALL IS!!! IT'S MEANINGFUL, SEE!!!

The whole movie is a big load of claptrap anyway. Self-consciously, pretentiously "arty" in a just not-very-intelligent way, it hits all the buttons without seeming to have much thought behind them. By the time you get to Tilda's big speech about how she has to pick the kids up from ballet, put the roast in the oven, and deal with blackmailers, and it's just so hard! you'll need a barf bag.

However, as I told you, I walked out of this movie after the “roast in the oven” speech, and therefore cannot say whether it redeemed itself at the end. But really, an alien invasion that destroyed all of Reno did not seem to be on the horizon, and there were no intimations of radioactive super-sharks infesting Lake Tahoe, so I don’t see how it could have improved.

This movie adds an additional layer of repulsiveness when you read the novella it was adapted from, which I found [obviously I was not looking for it because I loved this movie so much] in one of those old Alfred Hitchcock collections. In the novella it is the mother’s daughter that is in trouble, and for sleeping with an older man who is trouble. So updating the story to be more “edgy” by pandering to the gay market does not win points with me.

Should you watch it: 

If you don’t mind watching high-minded, preachy, tendentious shit, sure.