XL Popcorn – Deep End

List Item: Watch all of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”
Progress: 934/1009Title: Deep End
Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
Year: 1970
Country: UK/West Germany

When I think of British films of this era, all I can think of are those ‘gritty’ movies where Michael Caine wants to blow the doors off. Probably why I didn’t pick this for a while. Well, I guess it must be influence of the West German money and the Polish director that this doesn’t feel that British other than some of the attitudes towards sex. That is to say, unlike a lot of British films of this era, I really liked Deep End.

At the centre of this film are two colleagues at a swimming baths: one a boy fresh out school, the other a beautiful young woman who becomes the object of his lust. What starts as a simple schoolboy crush becomes this all encompassing possessiveness resulting in him becoming a stalker and trying to ruin her relationships so he can have her.

I would love to know some contemporary thoughts on Deep End surrounding the way this possessiveness develops. There is no doubt that she flirts with him a bit at the beginning, likely thinking he’s just a young boy and no threat whatsoever. The fact that he goes to the extents he does by the end is pretty scary – and I just know that some contemporary critics would have said she ‘lead him on’ when in fact he just doesn’t know how to take no for an answer.

Both Jane Asher and John Moulder Brown are great in this, but Jane Asher really steals the show. In the slightly grimy backdrop of the swimming baths, Asher is this screen siren with beautiful red hair and an magnetic attitude. The transformation of their characters and their interactions as this film goes from slightly smutty comedy to borderline psychological horror drama is a testament to them as actors and to Skolimowski in having this film walking such a line. God this was so much better than the film I saw next.

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