Deep End

John Moulder-Brown and Jane Asher in Deep End
The pool is often a hotspot of youthful longing and discovery in cinema, and in this 1970 film, re-released by the BFI, Polish filmmaker Jerzy Skolimowski brings the generational confusion, pop sensibilities and emotional chaos of late 1960s Britain to a tattered old London bathhouse.

Fresh-faced and virginal, 15-year-old Mike (John Moulder-Brown) takes a job as a pool assistant and learns the ropes from beautiful older colleague Susan (Jane Asher) while fighting off the advances of a randy middle-aged client (Diana Dors) on his first day. Susan is a tease with Mike, whose innocent, growing obsession with his friend and workmate leads him to follow her on a date to a dirty movie with her fiancé and fume over her affair with an older man. Susan is Mike’s flighty, untouchable guide to the world of the flesh, and Skolimowski has fun with Mike’s wide-eyed discovery of sex and lust in all its guises, lending his film a loose, freewheeling feel and keeping one foot in the real world and another in the allegorical world of the pool. Along with music from Can and Cat Stevens, a bizarre, beautiful ending is the high point of this wonderfully mysterious film.

Release details

Release date: Friday May 6 2011
Duration: 88 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
Screenwriter: Jerzy Skolimowski, Jerzy Gruza, Boleslaw Sulik
Cast: Jane Asher
Christopher Sandford
Karl Michael Vogler
John Moulder-Brown
Diana Dors

Average User Rating

4.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|5
1 person listening
godfrey hamilton

Name the deed for what it is, dave Calhoun: Mike doesn't "fight off the advances" of Diana Dors's character; she is attempting to rape him. And Mike's method of dealing with the rival, older boyfriend of Susan is to charge him (to the nearest available cop) with paedophilic harassment. Meanwhile a friendly hooker with a broken leg has primed Mike for this by warning him to be careful of "the queers". And back at the baths, one of the instructors is drooling over underage schoolgirls. And what TO's Calhoun sees as "bizarrely beautiful" is - SPOILER AHEAD - the killing of Susan in a manner both offhand and brutal. This is a film dealing with the inherent ugliness - the 'deep end' - of sexual awakening, sexual disgust, sex-as-transaction and as such it seems peculiar to describe the dream-like necrophilia of the final images as simply a "high point". In a sense, this is a critic-proof movie; those of us who saw it on first run in 1971 will attest to its strange, compelling, haunting power. But Calhoun's review makes it seem like a coming-of-age story about a twitchy pubescent lad. It isn't - its purposes and methods are darker, uglier and , well, deeper than a casual reader of TO's review might be persuaded to expect.

godfrey hamilton

Name the deed for what it is, dave Calhoun: Mike doesn't "fight off the advances" of Diana Dors's character; she is attempting to rape him. And Mike's method of dealing with the rival, older boyfriend of Susan is to charge him (to the nearest available cop) with paedophilic harassment. Meanwhile a friendly hooker with a broken leg has primed Mike for this by warning him to be careful of "the queers". And back at the baths, one of the instructors is drooling over underage schoolgirls. And what TO's Calhoun sees as "bizarrely beautiful" is - SPOILER AHEAD - the killing of Susan in a manner both offhand and brutal. This is a film dealing with the inherent ugliness - the 'deep end' - of sexual awakening, sexual disgust, sex-as-transaction and as such it seems peculiar to describe the dream-like necrophilia of the final images as simply a "high point". In a sense, this is a critic-proof movie; those of us who saw it on first run in 1971 will attest to its strange, compelling, haunting power. But Calhoun's review makes it seem like a coming-of-age story about a twitchy pubescent lad. It isn't - its purposes and methods are darker, uglier and , well, deeper than a casual reader of TO's review might be persuaded to expect.

Francesca

I would recommend Deep End to everybody, is much more enjoyable than The Shout, another film by Skolimovsky. Now I know where I saw John Moulder Brown (the actor who plays the boy) before! He was Prince Otto in Ludwig by Luchino Visconti.

Derek

The film really gets under your skin, and it's very artistic and creepy. Worth checking out, despite it's unavailablity. If you get a chance to see it, Do!

Derek

The film really gets under your skin, and it's very artistic and creepy. Worth checking out, despite it's unavailablity. If you get a chance to see it, Do!