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The Deep End

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Scott McGehee
David Siegel
Written by Scott McGehee
David Siegel
Elisabeth Sanxay Holding (novel)
Starring Tilda Swinton
Goran Višnjić
Jonathan Tucker
Josh Lucas
Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures
Release date(s) August 8, 2001 (US)
December 14, 2001 (UK)[1]
Running time 101 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2,000,000
Gross revenue $10,031,529

The Deep End is a 2001 film that was written and directed by David Siegel and Scott McGehee. It stars Tilda Swinton, Goran Višnjić, Jonathan Tucker and Josh Lucas and was released by Fox Searchlight Pictures. The film was very loosely adapted from the novel The Blank Wall by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding (filmed before by Max Ophüls as The Reckless Moment). The film premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Best Cinematography award (for cinematography by English cinematographer Giles Nuttgens).


Margaret Hall (Swinton) lives a seemingly serene middle-class life in Tahoe City, California. Her husband, Tom, is a pilot on the aircraft carrier USS Constellation. She is startled to discover that her son Beau, a high school senior, has been having a sexual affair with 30 year-old Reno, Nevada night club owner Darby Reese (Lucas). The affair becomes apparent when a drunken Beau wrecks his car returning from Reno one night. The next day, Margaret visits Darby's nightclub, The Deep End, to demand that he stay away from her son. Darby offers to stay away for $5,000. Margaret attempts to engage her son about his sexual orientation, to no avail. The two have an argument which culminates with Margaret forbidding Beau from visiting Reno again.

That night, Darby secretly visits Beau and the two meet in the boat house. Beau confronts Darby about asking his mother for money. The two argue, eventually coming to blows. As Beau flees back to the house, Darby leans on a railing which collapses. Darby falls below, impaling himself on an anchor.

The next morning, Margaret discovers Darby's body on the beach. She deduces that Beau and Darby had an altercation which resulted in Darby's death. In a panic, Margaret decides to get rid of the body by dumping it in a cove. The body is soon discovered and the police investigate it as a homicide. Soon after, Alex Spera confronts and blackmails Margaret with an illicit tape that Darby recorded of one of his sexual encounters with Beau. Alex demands $50,000 in 24 hours or he and his partner will turn the tape over to the police, which would implicate Beau in Darby's "murder".


  1. ^ a b The Deep End at the Internet Movie Database URL last accessed September 11, 2006.

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