Classic coming-undone coming-of-age story that gets young boys’ obsession with sex just about right. It’s pretty hard to take, but then again, so are young boys. The film is about a 15 year-old but it’s not for a 15 year-old. I’ll show it to my 15 year-old and he’ll either turn gay or admit that he is gay (something I would have already suspected anyway).
Story is about Mike, a virgin in the traditional sense (fornication) and also in regards to doing a job. All this is about to change. He’s cute and he’s hired at the local swimming pool. He looks like a cross between Parker Stephenson and Shawn Cassidy. He starts work and all the housewives want to bone him, repressed London coming unglued as Mike delivers more medicated shampoo to door #4 and 5. The Lolita-like redhead nymph is a legal age dynamo sex bait of the bath house. Her natural charm and effectiveness makes Natalie Portman rather unnecessary. She’s doing it to Mike’s former swimming coach. Her fiance is a pompous drip who studies blue movies with academic discernment. She torments Mike in wicked ways. He grows up fast. The repercussions are severe.
Two sequences stand out as total classics: One unfolds at a blue movie cinema, rivaling Mickey Rourke’s turn in The Diner for outright hilarity, but also delving deeper (hence the title, no, not really). The other takes place outside a peep show and involves the ingestion of numerous hot dogs and the pilfering of a life-size nude cardboard cut-out culminating in a ridiculous ruckus on a crowded tube train.
There’s an urge to refer to this film as Deep Red, for the contrast of perverse red against the rank landscape of 1970s London suburbia is luridly outstanding. The camera work is artful, the editing is droll, the performances are classic, the climax a tad unwieldy. Cat Stevens and Can provide the soundtrack that loses to Performance in a tenth-round knockout, but puts on a hell of a fight. Directed by Jerzy Skolimowski.