The Deep End - Deceptive Silence

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
German title The Deep End - Deceptive Silence
Original title The deep end
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 2001
length 97 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Scott McGehee and David Siegel
script Scott McGehee, David Siegel and Elisabeth Sanxay Holding (novel)
production Scott McGehee and David Siegel
music Peter Nashel
camera Giles Nuttgens
cut Lauren Zuckerman

The Deep End is a feature film by the American director duo Scott McGehee and David Siegel from 2001. The dramatic thriller is generally assigned to independent films and is based on a novel by the American writer Elisabeth Sanxay Holding (1889– 1955).


Margaret Hall lives with her children Beau, Paige and Dylan in an idyllic and secluded life on Lake Tahoe . While her husband, a Marine - officer , on a cruiser in the North Atlantic does its job, Margaret takes care of the household and her frail father Jack. The first cracks in Margaret's seemingly perfect family life arise when the viewer learns through brief flashbacks in the first few minutes of the film that her eldest son Beau, a talented musician, was drunk in a serious car accident, but miraculously escaped without any injuries. Beau's friend, the sleazy nightclub owner Darby Reese, had sat in the passenger seat . Margaret tries to keep Reese away from her son, but one evening he gains access to the Hall property and an argument breaks out between Beau and Reese. When Margaret discovered the body of Beau's friend, who had been pierced by an anchor in a fall, on the lakeshore the next morning, she was forced to act in order not to let her family break up. Without further ado, she sinks the body in Lake Tahoe.

A few days later, the crook Alek is at Margaret's door and plays a video cassette for her that shows Beau and his dead friend having sex together. Alek demanded 50,000 US dollars or the tape goes to the police of Lake Tahoe, which has now found the body. Margaret tries to raise the money, but her situation is made more difficult when her father-in-law collapses after a heart attack. Alek happens to be in the house doing first aid . He gradually begins to fall in love with Margaret and tries to convince his client, Charlie Nagel, that the blackmail will fail. But Nagel does not want to give in.

Towards the end of the film there is an argument between Nagel and Margaret in a boathouse, where Alek shows up and strangles Nagel. After Nagel's death, Alek staged a car accident by driving the car himself over a ledge. Seriously injured, he asks Margaret, who was following the two men in her car, to take the video cassette and drive home. Alek dies after Margaret destroys the incriminating video. Margaret collapses from the extreme situation of the past few days with a crying fit. Back at home, she continues to suffer from a nervous breakdown and is heard by her son Beau, for whose future she has sacrificed herself the last few days.

History of origin

The film is based on Elisabeth Sanxay Holding's novel The Blank Wall , which was filmed by Max Ophüls as early as 1949 under the title Schweigegeld für Liebesbriefe (original title: The Reckless Moment ) . In the first film, Joan Bennett acted as Lucia Harper, a mother who makes her daughter's dead lover disappear. James Mason played Martin Donnelly, the blackmailer who later falls in love with Lucia.


Scott McGehees and David Siegel's family thriller premiered in the United States on January 21, 2001 at the Sundance Film Festival . The film was positively received by the critics, especially because of the intense play by leading actress Tilda Swinton. The independent film even made a profit with an estimated production cost of US $ 3 million with approximately US $ 8 million at the American box office. In Germany ran Deceptive Silence - The Deep End only thirteen months after the US theatrical release on 21 February 2002 in the cinemas , but could not draw attention to themselves.


  • " An astonishingly dense and moving thriller with remarkable acting by Tilda Swinton and Goran Visnjic " ( premiere )
  • Stylized suspense thriller with sophisticated figure drawings based on a noir crime thriller. "( DVD & Video Report )
  • “In their flawless suspense thriller, Scott McGehee and David Siegel succeed in achieving the greatest possible tension without elaborate special effects. Not least responsible for this are Tilda Swinton ('Orlando') as a calculatingly cool, yet highly vulnerable protagonist and the Croatian star Goran Visnjic (Dr. Kovac from 'ER') in the role of the blackmailer with a heart. Intelligent and captivating, this psychological thriller should appeal to friends of the well-groomed horror. "( VideoWeek )
  • The directors David Siegel and Scott McGehee not only tell an exciting crime thriller, but also present a multi-layered drama about the question of how far a mother goes out of love for her child. Her actors, who show excellent performances, above all Tilda Swinton, also have a large share in the success. "( Focus: film )


  • The film is titled The Deep End nightclub run by the dead Darby Reese.
  • In the sex scene between Beau and Darby, the two directors had to wait until actor Jonathan Tucker was 18 years old.
  • Director duo Scott McGehee and David Siegel make a brief cameo when Margaret Hall's father is picked up by the ambulance because of a heart attack.
  • The man who is provisionally held in custody for the death of Darby Reese is called Martin Donnelly. This is the name of the blackmailer with a conscience, embodied by James Mason in the first film adaptation of the novel from 1949.


The Deep End won numerous festival and critic awards. The British actress Tilda Swinton was rewarded for her performance as a blackmailed housewife with a nomination for the Golden Globe , where she was considered alongside such established actresses as Sissy Spacek , Nicole Kidman and Judi Dench . Giles Nuttgen's work as a cameraman was recognized at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival.

Golden Globe 2002

  • nominated in the category Best Actress - Drama (Tilda Swinton)


Boston Society of Film Critics Awards 2001

  • Best Actress (Tilda Swinton)

Chicago Film Critics Association Awards 2002

  • nominated in the category Best Actress (Tilda Swinton)

Chlotrudis Awards 2002

  • nominated in the category Best Actress (Tilda Swinton)

Deauville Film Festival 2001

  • nominated for the best film

Flanders International Film Festival 2001

  • nominated for the best film

Golden Satellite Awards 2002

Nominated in the categories

  • Best film - drama
  • Best director
  • Best Actress - Drama (Tilda Swinton)
  • Best Supporting Actor - Drama (Goran Visnjic)

Independent Spirit Awards 2002

Nominated in the categories

  • Best Actress (Tilda Swinton)
  • Best camera

Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards 2002

  • Best Actress (Tilda Swinton)

Online Film Critics Society Awards 2002

  • nominated in the category Best Actress (Tilda Swinton)

Stockholm Film Festival 2001

  • nominated for the best film

Sundance Film Festival 2001

  • Best camera
  • nominated for best motion picture drama

The German Film and Media Assessment FBW in Wiesbaden awarded the film the rating “particularly valuable”.


  • Elisabeth Sanxay Holding: The Deep End - Deceptive Silence . Heyne, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-453-21240-1 .
  • Elisabeth Sanxay Holding: The Blank Wall . Persephone Books, 2003, ISBN 1-903155-32-0 (English edition).

Web links