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The Deep End  

Directed by: David Siegel and Scott McGehee

Margaret Hall (Tilda Swinton) has her hands full all day long. With her husband regularly away for Navy duty and three kids to take care of, Margaret must handle every family happening on a daily basis. On top of all of this, she has to deal with the more pressing issue of her eldest son Beau's homosexuality. Her struggle is not really with the fact that he is gay, but rather with the idea that Beau, being under-aged, is seeing Darby, a man almost twice his age. Not only that, but Beau's beau is an alcoholic. Fearing for her son's safety, Margaret begs Darby to leave her son alone and even offers money for this to happen.

Of course, Darby greedily accepts the money, but still sneaks behind her back to meet Beau. That is until one night when the lovers meet and things turn for the worse. Darby drives out to Beau's lakeside house, and the two slink out to the back. They get into a quarrel and Beau runs back to the house. Margaret sees him and knows that something is up. It is not until the next morning that Margaret discovers the seriousness of the situation, when she discovers Darby's lifeless body on the shore.

Worried that her son might be accused of murder, Margaret takes the situation into her own hands. Soon enough, things get totally out of control as the police discover the body, Margaret becomes the target of a vicious blackmail, and laundry is piling up.

"The Deep End" is a suspenseful drama indeed. Here's this housewife who gets involved in covering up a crime that her son may or may not have committed, and she doesn't exactly know what to do. Margaret is an ordinary woman in an extraordinary circumstance. She pretends that everything is alright for the sake of her family, but we know it is anything but that. With her problems, it is a wonder that she can still keep her daughter's ballet engagement and what not.

"The Deep End" starts out really strong and taut, but sort of gets disjointed in the second half. The plot had too many convenient escape routes; like the incident with the grandfather (talk about time precision) and the blackmail collector. Things just started to fit a bit too snuggly as the film went on.

Nevertheless, Tilda Swinton is simply amazing as Margaret Hall. Rarely is a movie anchored to such gripping realism due to a single performance, yet "The Deep End" has Swinton to pull it off. Come Oscar nomination time, I wouldn't be surprised if her name will be one of the five women announced to compete for Best Actress. What she does in "The Deep End" is crucial for she adds believability to the entire film. Her performance is not over the top, bordering lunacy, and Swinton always hits the right notes. Her apprehension becomes ours and we share her struggles. Margaret might have sheltered her family from the real going-ons, but look deep into her eyes and you can tell something is not right.

"The Deep End" ventures into a suspenseful tale of cover-ups and deception, and although it gets a bit shaky at times, a first rate performance from Swinton prevents it from sinking altogether.

Film is Rated R for violence, language and one intense scene of sexuality. Running time is 99 minutes.


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