Fans of the outrageously bold Suture may be disappointed at the essentially conservative style of The Deep End. (Those who considered Suture's "trick" story to be nothing but an attention-getting gimmick will doubtless be relieved.) But Suture, while a wonderfully entertaining and provocative film, was almost an end more dead than deep.
With this new film, McGehee and Siegel have made an engrossing, often enlightening character study -- which most great noir films are, under the surface. And they've done something else of value: They've shown that it's possible, in the 21st Century, to make a film noir that isn't (in the usual sense) "neo-noir." That is, there is no whiff of "retro" about the project, no homages or self-conscious harking back to a beloved set of conventions and stylistic touches. In that, they have been more faithful to the spirit of the original noir directors: They've simply approached the story on its own terms, letting that determine the style.