The phrase "the deep end" takes on parallel meanings in this stylish, understated film noir by David Siegel and Scott McGehee. At times the name of a hypnotic gay bar in Reno, at others a reference to the vast mountain depths of Lake Tahoe, it takes on the most meaning in the sense of someone "going off the deep end," of unraveling completely.
Tilda Swinton (Orlando) plays a woman who discovers her 17-year-old son's much-older lover (and the owner of the bar, it turns out) dead on the beach behind their home. Fearing her son is somehow complicit in the man's death, she makes a rash decision to take the body out into the lake and dump it. What follows is an unlikely but riveting sequence of events that asks more questions than it answers.
The Deep End isn't perfect -- one wonders at times if the filmmakers are focusing too much on how having a gay son is somehow worse than hiding a dead body in Lake Tahoe -- but the performances are impeccable. Beau Hall is good as the quiet, secretive son, as is Goran Visnjic as a thug who goes soft. But Swinton is nothing short of amazing as an uber-mom who holds it together under enormous pressure -- flailing around in the deep but keeping her head above water.