Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

"Deep End" is More Dizzy Than Deep

Cleveland Press September 20, 1971

I can't remember when a movie made be dizzier. Round and round goes the camera, over and over and over.

Or it bobs -- up and down, up and down, up and down.

Artiness has replaced art in "The Deep End" and the result is closer to physical nausea than esthetic pleasure.

"Deep End" is a kind of black comedy-romance-suspense, or would be except that it falls short in the comedy, romance, suspense departments.

The picture was directed and co-written by Jerry Skolimowski. Because he was a collaborator with Roman Polanski in "Knife in the Water" he has gained some notoriety among film buffs. There is little in "Deep End" that suggests he had much to do with the success of "Knife in the Water."

The story is about a 15-year-old boy (John Moulder Brown) who drops out of school to take a job as an attendant in a sleazy London bath house. He is attracted to the woman's attendant (Jane Asher), a girl several years older and far and way more experienced.

He takes to following her around as she meets her various men friends, in and out of pornographic movie houses and discotheques.

She both teases him and discourages him but his infatuation increases until it leads to disaster in an empty swimming pool.

Very little happens in the movie and the picture is padded out interminably with uninteresting small talk and with people walking, driving and bicycling around with that camera going along with them -- bobbing along, up and down, in and around.

Skolimowski likes symbols so red paint starts dripping early on in the proceedings and he takes a few stabs at erotic symbolism, too.

The two performers are quite good considering the confusing roles they have to play. Diana Dors, one-time English glamour girl, appears in a cameo role buried under mountains of flesh as an aging, sex-starved matron.