The 19th and latest entry into the BFI's celebrated 'Flipside' series, a collection exploring previously neglected British cinema and granting them the transfers and extras they deserve.
Deep End itself is possibly the most anticipated Flipside release so far, a critically acclaimed film that up to now has been very difficult to see, and even harder to find a decent home release of. This is a shame as this really is an excellent film, and hopefully it can now find a wider audience.
The film itself is directed by Polish filmaker Jerzy Skolimowski and was first released in 1970. Though it is technically a joint US-German film, with most of the film shot in Munich (though set in England), it is this English background, as well as the two leader actors, Jane Asher (looking absolutely stunning) and John Moulder-Brown, that categorise this as a 'British Film' and therefore worthy of entry to the BFI's Flipside collection.
Though it was filmed in Germany, watching the film it is not noticeable, and much of it is set in a public bath-house where 15-year old Mike (played by Moulder Brown) starts his first job after leaving school. This is where he meet Susan (played by Asher), who also works at the baths, and is older than him. The rest of the film follows Mike's increasing infatuation with Susan, building up to a shocking conclusion. This is an excellent film, and I found it hard not to feel some sympathy for Mike. Also, possibly because of the filming location, this feels a lot less like a film of its time, apart from a few posters and the age of the cars, I was surprised by how well it has aged. This certainly has an appeal outside of those with an interest in niche British cinema, and should be considered a British classic.
The BFI have given the film a new HD transfer, and it looks very impressive on Blu-ray, with vivid colours and a very sharp image, especially considering this film is now 40 years old. This is a dual Blu-ray/DVD edition, with the extras and film available on both discs. There is also a limited 3-disc edition with an interview with Asher and Moulder-Brown filmed onstage. There are also a generous set of extras, the best of which is a new, feature-length documentary called 'Starting Out: The Making of Jerzy Skolimowski's Deep End'. I found this as fascinating as the feature itself, with Asher and Moulder-Brown reunited for the first time since making the film. Skolimowski also appears in this documentary, which is both candid and informative. There's also deleted scenes and an original theatrical trailer. There's also another short 10-minute feature, 'Careless Love', a 1976 feature starring Jane Asher, which has a similar subject matter to Deep End. Finally, there is the customary booklet with essays about the film.
If you have even a passing interest in British cinema, I highly recommend this film, especially as the BFI have put together an exceptional set of extra features on this disc.