*** Official "THE DEEP END" Discussion Thread

AdrianJ

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I started in the review thread, but I'm not sure it's the right place and those post maybe deleted so I thought I would repost the stuff here.

My First Post:

I was wondering if anyone could actually explain the motivations of the characters in this movie. I had a hard time believing that Margaret would raise $50,000 just to keep the tape of her son from going to the police. I mean what does the tape prove? Anything substantial? Also, what makes the blackmailers believe that she actually has $50,000 in liquid assets that she can get her hands on. They have to know, or at least assume, that everything is co-owned between her and her husband and it with the husband not readily available, it would make it extremely difficult to get that kind of money. I liked the movie, but I kept getting distracted by not understanding the characters or their reasons for action.
Michael Perez's response:
quote: Nagel really didn't care if Margaret had the money, nor did he care about how she would go about raising that kind of cash in such a short period of time.

I guess the unasked, but implied question, is what is the purpose of blackmailing someone that doesn't have the money? I mean if you are going to blackmail someone, it should be someone with the means of coming up with the money you ask for. Also, why didn't he just settle for the $12,000. It was obvious that she couldn't come up with any more in the given time frame. Also, why didn't she try and give them the Corvette. Even at black market rates it would have been worth something.

Also, a minor point that bugged me. How come she could drive the Corvette, but not the Nova. I know there are some Corvettes that have automatics in them, but I think that would be the exception instead of the norm.


Finally Michael Ruben's post:

Since this is a "review only" thread, most of these posts are at risk of deletion. But there's no "official discussion" thread, so here goes.

AdrianJ:

Spoiler:
She doesn't see Darby fall onto the anchor; as I recall, she pushes him and runs away. The next morning she finds the body, and she doesn't know what happened. She's afraid to ask her son directly, because if he did meet up with Darby and kill him, she doesn't really want to know.

And BTW, even if she knew what had really happened, she'd risk a charge for involuntary manslaughter (at best) if she called the police. It wouldn't take long for the cops to establish that she'd recently been seen arguing with Darby in public.

And blackmailers usually operate on the theory that, if people are desperate enough, they'll find a way to raise the money.

M.

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Adrian Jones
 

AdrianJ

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Michael,
Spoiler:Margaret tells Alek in the car ride back to Tahoe that she killed Darby. I would assume she came to this conclusion after seeing him lying dead beneath where she pushed him off the dock. I don't think at any point she would have thought that her son actually killed Darby.
As for the involuntary manslaughter charges, I just don't think so. I mean it was completely an accident. She pushed him, he failed through the railing and landed on an anchor. How could she know that the railing would break or that there was an anchor for him to land on?
I found this on a law site:
Involuntary manslaughter is an unlawful killing unintentionally caused by wanton or reckless conduct creating a high degree of likelihood that substantial harm will result to another. It is also an unlawful killing caused by the commission of a battery in circumstances which the person committing the battery knows or reasonably should know endanger human life.
Simply pushing him is not a wanton or reckless conduct nor would it likely result in death. It was a chain reaction of things beyond her control, especially the fact that the railing of the dock was week there.
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Adrian Jones
 

Robert Crawford

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This thread is now designated the Official Discussion Thread for "The Deep End". Please, post all comments, links to outside reviews, film and box office discussion items to this thread.
All HTF member film reviews of "The Deep End" should be posted to this thread .
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
Crawdaddy
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[Edited last by Robert Crawford on October 03, 2001 at 04:16 PM]
 

Michael Reuben

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Spoiler:She's covering for her son. She'll never speak aloud her concern that he's the one who killed Darby.
Simply pushing him is not a wanton or reckless conduct nor would it likely result in death. It was a chain reaction of things beyond her control, especially the fact that the railing of the dock was week there.
You only know that because, as an audience member, you saw what happened. The police didn't; the D.A. didn't; and the people who would end up sitting on a jury didn't. Remember: I only said she'd be charged with a crime; I didn't say she'd committed one. And being charged with a crime, even if you're ultimately exonerated, is a terrible thing that people go to great lengths to avoid.
M.
P.S. Nice move in getting the "official discussion" thread started!

[Edited last by Michael Reuben on October 03, 2001 at 05:17 PM]
 

AdrianJ

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I agree that it is possible that she would be charged with a crime. However, I think after the DA gets the whole story he is likely not to prosecute, knowing that it would be a hard case to win.
Also, if I had to spend $50,000 I'd rather give it to a lawyer than to a blackmailer.
Now, there might be other reasons to keep the tape out of the public's eye. She knew that her husband was going to have a difficult enough time knowing that his son is gay. I think she was probably thinking about how devistating it would have been for her husband to view that tape.
Also, did Beau knew that he was taped? I never got a feel either way. I'd have to think that he probably didn't.
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Adrian Jones
 

Patrick Sun

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I just thought that the motivations were almost non-existent for the baddies, or Alec's "turn" was just out and out strange. It made for a frustrating viewing experience for me. I have to think these blackmailers just had some strange ideas of what's possible in terms of raising that amount of cash in so short period of time from a "normal" family's resources. I kept thinking "you can't get blood from a stone" through the entire "shake-down" process employed by Alec and his partner in crime. Maybe if we knew why Alec needed the money so badly I could understand his urgency in the matter.
The mother also acted pretty peculiarly (in my eyes). Even if the blackmailers went public with the tape, looking at it from a logical perspective, the endgame would be that the tape gets out (sure, a mother wants to protect her son and his future), did it really warrant $50,000? It's not like her son was some high profile person. (I know, the film took pains to show that the son had a musical future, et al) What would the blackmailers gain by airing the tape? They would have humiliated the son, but gained nothing in return. It's the money that drives these blackmailers, not the humiliation angle. If she would have stood her ground, perhaps the blackmailers would figure out there was only $12,000 on the table for their efforts and high-tail it out of there. But nooooo...Alec's partner in crime thinks there's more money to squeeze out of the mom and we get the ending we get. Like I said, just a strange film. Plus, The creep's death could have been swept away under a self-defense line of defense.
I don't know if the son knew he was being videotaped while being a "bottom" to that creep. We just don't have any evidence to say one way or another. The camera could have been setup in front of them, or hidden in a closet, we'll never know.
CSI would have had a field day with the Corvette that the mom left in the parking lot (she wiped her fingerprints off the steering wheel, but I'm sure she left all sorts of strands of hair, clues behind).
I did like that Corvette's license plate "6FT BLO" Hahaha!
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Edwin Pereyra

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It helps to know the Lake Tahoe area to achieve some kind of understanding as to the mother’s intent to pay the blackmailers and the blackmailers’ motivations. The filmmakers, having lived in the Bay area (San Francisco), have a fairly good knowledge of the Tahoe basin and have done their research well. It is too bad that they did not spend time to show the social well-being of the people in the area and its demographics, which may help those not familiar with the area, gain a better understanding of the film's plot points. But from my perspective, it wasn’t necessary.
One has to be in the upper middle class or upper class to have a lake front property at Lake Tahoe. Margaret’s house is easily worth close to $1M, if not more. A lot of prominent people live on the Lake Tahoe basin including at one point Steve Wynn, former Chairman of the Mirage resorts, and other millionaires. Tahoe is still a fairly small community. The blackmailers knew all of this.
Margaret’s family definitely has money as shown in the film, but most of it were not in liquid assets and easily attainable in cash without the husband’s signature (community property). If that tape had been released to the public, it would have been very humiliating to the son and the family.
~Edwin
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http://www.hometheaterforum.com/uub/Forum9/HTML/005780.html#8 http://www.hometheaterforum.com/uub/Forum9/HTML/006466.html
[Edited last by Edwin Pereyra on October 04, 2001 at 10:49 AM]
 

Edwin Pereyra

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Margaret's family is definitely well-to-do. Some people who live in Tahoe are not very flashy about their wealth. One can have money and still live like being out in the country. As a stranger, you wouldn't know a millionaire if you are just walking down the street.
What makes Lake Tahoe so special is the great outdoors. There is no need for flashy clothing or shiny cars. This is 4WD and personal recreation vehicles (boats and mountain bikes) country.
~Edwin
 

AdrianJ

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Edwin,
You bring out another of my minor problems with this money. How did this family afford the house that they were in based on a Navy salary? I guess it could be family money, but it seems like the grandfather was also a Navy man. It was one of the things that could have been explained.
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Adrian Jones
 

Edwin Pereyra

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Adrian, for me, where the money (wealth) came from was not an issue. I can't remember whether the grandfather was her dad or her husband's. Someone in the family had wealth possibly like you said, passed down from one of the spouse's parents or family. It would have to be one of those premise that one just has to accept.
I also cannot remember her husband's official title at the Service (government). If he was pretty high up, he should be well compensated.
~Edwin
 

AdrianJ

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The grandfather is the husband's father. I assumed the father was in the Navy because he was on a naval ship. The grandfather also makes a comment about Beau not going to Annapolis for college, so I assumed he was a Navy man also.
New question though. How did Darby die? I took it at face value that Margaret killed him when she was talking to Alek in the car ride back from Reno. My sister says that Darby was shown falling through the railing after fighting with Beau. (I had assumed that Margaret and Darby had a fight sometime after Beau came back into the house and she went out to find out what was wrong.)
 

Edwin Pereyra

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Darby definitely fell accidentally from the railing and hit the anchor which wounded him fatally. Based on how Margaret found him, he didn't die instantly but he was also unable to get help because of the fatal wound.
~Edwin
 

AdrianJ

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I guess my question was: did this happen during the fight with Beau or was there an offscreen fight with Margaret that she alludes to in her conversation with Alek?
 

Edwin Pereyra

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It happened after the fight with Beau. Beau was unaware of the accident while Margaret thought Beau accidentally killed Darby during a fight the two had and had to cover for him.
~Edwin
 

AdrianJ

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Ah, see I missed that. Maybe that is why I have been confused. I knew that old couple was distracting me too much during the movie.

I also saw that the book this is based on was written in the '40s. I guess the views of homosexuality make more since when looked at in that light.
 

Michael Reuben

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I seem to recall reading in a review that, in the book, the son was a daughter. It was one of the plot elements the filmmakers "updated".
M.
 

Patrick Sun

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Could someone explain to me why I didn't like the son? There's just something I can't put my finger on about him that bugs me about him.
If Margaret's family was as rich as claimed, I still can't see why she could get the money. The answer is simple, they didn't have THAT much money (as Edwin say) that was liquid in that short a time span. Wouldn't these blackmailers know this as well? Again, just a muddy film to me.
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Edwin Pereyra

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quote: If Margaret's family was as rich as claimed, I still can't see why she could get the money. The answer is simple, they didn't have THAT much money (as Edwin say) that was liquid in that short a time span. Wouldn't these blackmailers know this as well? [/quote]
Well, as we all know, crooks aren't the brightest people in the world.
But seriously though, how would they know about their liquid assets? All they know is that they had money (in the general sense of that word). The blackmailers want it and they don't care how she'd raise it. That is why the leader kept insisting that SHE has the money. He couldn't grasp the notion that sometimes it is just not that easy to raise that amount of cash in a short amount of time (i.e. the next day).
~Edwin
[Edited last by Edwin Pereyra on October 04, 2001 at 01:55 PM]
 

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