Deep End [UK Release] Blu-ray Review
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: English LPCM 2.0 Mono (48kHz/16-bit)
- Subtitles: English HOH
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Classification: 15
- Discs: 3 (1 x Blu-ray + 2 x DVD)
- Studio: BFI
- Blu-ray Release Date: July 18, 2011
- RRP: £19.99
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
Deep End is an iconic British film from the “outsider” Polish filmmaker Jerzy Skolimowski. Leaving Poland after he was no longer free to make the films he wanted under the communist regime, the director would eventually settle in Kensington where two stories would catch his attention. The first was the story of a young couple who lost a diamond in the snow and were desperate to find it and the second was one of a young woman found murdered in a swimming pool. From these two anecdotes would be born the outline of Deep End.
Arriving in 1970 at the end of the Swinging Sixties/Swinging London scene at the dawn of the grey hangover that was to follow, Skolimowski’s film takes its queues from this patently British scene, adding in his own Eastern European twist – a darker, more artistic overtone that only someone from the outside looking in could manage.
The film deals with the obsessiveness of young love and the potential for violence therein, but with a levity and wit that avoids it being overly ponderous. The story follows young 16-year-old Mike (John Moulder-Brown), just out of school and getting his first job at a dilapidated public baths. After an one of the establishments older female clients comes on to him, Mike becomes close to the baths’ twenty-something and engaged attendant Susan (Jane Asher). His friendship quickly turns to obsessive infatuation, to no small degree encouraged by the coy come-ons by Susan, leading Mike on constantly, only to reject him purposely. After a night trailing Susan and her fiance into Soho’s seedy sexual underbelly, during which he discovers there is far more to Susan than even he knew, things just may take a turn. Can Mike convince the more mature Susan to leave her rich boyfriend, or will this all end in tragedy?
A remarkable film that uses the essence of Swinging London with its bright colors and changing sexual mores, but indulges in the darker side of that scene and its consequences, Deep End is also known for its use of Cat Steven’s song “But I Might Die Tonight” in its opening and the 14-min-long Can song “Mother Sky” used throughout as its score. It’s an impressive and innovative use of pop music in film that seems all to common today.
Deep End was scanned and restored at 2K resolution by Bavaria Media at CinePostproduction, using a 35mm interpositive. It looks quite filmic and lacking in major flaws due to source damage in this marvelous restoration from the BFI coming to Blu-ray in a 1.85:1 AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 encodement. Colors are absolutely spectacular, grain is a bit towards the coarse side but never overwhelming, and blacks are quite deep.
The original main mix is taken from 17.5mm magnetic film. The PCM 2.0 Mono (48kHz/16-bit) sound is rather full with quite a bit of dynamic range and ambient trail off with little crackle or hiss.
This dual format collector’s edition is loaded with extras stretching across its three discs, plus the usual high quality BFI booklet, making it worthy of any cinephile’s collection.
The supplements provided with this release are:
- Starting Out (2011; 1.78:1; 1080p/24; 01:18:05) — This is a feature-length making-of documentary that feature new interviews with Jane Asher and John Moulder-Brown.
- Deep End: The Deleted Scenes (2011; 1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:12:45) — In this brief segment the filmmakers discuss scenes, no longer available, that were deleted from the film.
- Careless Love (Francine Winham; 1976; 1.33:1; 1080p/24; 00:10:08) — Rare shot film in which a woman (Jane Asher) takes extraordinary action to keep the affections of the man she loves.
- Original Trailer (1.33:1; 1080p/24) – The original “X” trailer from the British Board of Film Censors advertising an “X” film, Deep End.
- Really Deep End (2011; 25 mins. DVD Only) – Jane Asher and John Moulder-Brown interviewed onstage with BFI curators William Fowler and Vic Pratt.
- Deep End 2011 Reissue Trailer (DVD Only)
- Booklet: Illustrated booklet featuring new essays by David Thompson, Yvonne Tasker, and Skolimowski expert Ewa Mazierska.
- DVD of the film
The Definitive Word
Despite belonging so much to its era in one sense, Deep End is also a timeless film that can be applied to today. Its story of youthful obsession stretches across the borders of time and reaches into the present and future. Of course, this BFI restoration is marvelous as well, offering a brilliant look at a forgotten gem on Blu-ray.
Additional Screen Captures