Year Released: 2017
Origin: St. Kitts and Nevis
Running Time: 5 minutes
Rating/Recommended Audience: 13+
Related Films/Series: N/A
For Fans Of: August the First, Second Coming, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Mano, Memento
-Lost in the Deep End is streaming on YouTube.
-St. Kitts and Nevis is a country in the Caribbean with a population of over 54,000 people. The capital and largest city is Basseterre. The most famous person ever born in that nation is actually Alexander Hamilton. Yeah, really. While he certainly didn’t look like most Kittitians, he was actually born on that island.
-Hilarious in Hindsight: The wife’s name is Sepia and a good portion of the flashback scenes are in sepiatone or lean towards that hue.
My quest for Caribbean cinema continues as I scoured across YouTube from content creators hailing from that part of the world. For grins and giggles, I pondered if the country of St. Kitts and Nevis had anything to offer in terms of movies. Lo and behold, I found a short narrative film made directly by a Kittitian filmmaker. This would certainly be another way to expand my cinematic horizons.
Of course it’s a shame that there are people who secretly think movies such as Cool Runnings or The Pirates of the Caribbean series are actual Caribbean movies. Those people need to really slap themselves. Real talk.
Lost in the Deep End deals with a man named Franco Collins who is in the middle of the ocean. He’s busy swimming for dear life as the person who captained the boat is driving away. Memories flood in which lead up to that event, but not in the right order. Franco is shown to be married to a woman named Sepia and they have a son named Marc. Their son is doing well in school and has a healthy relationship with both parents. The teacher Mrs. Thomas compliments their boy on his school work which makes both of them proud. However, Marc may have his own ulterior motives whenever the Collins family spends time together or when both parents were at that meeting in the classroom. What could’ve been the reasoning as to how Franco got in the ocean in the first place?
The first thing that caught my eye was the visual production. This looked very professional with the clean camerawork showing how vast the ocean was or even in the more normal scenes around the home or school. I also liked how the portrayal of the normal locales could easily pass as middle class, so this destroys negative stereotypes about Caribbean nations (namely the majority Black ones) as poverty porn fodder. That was a good touch. I will admit the editing and storytelling did keep me interested at first as the story flips between past and present in an exciting way that didn’t give me whiplash and things did make sense. Others would’ve intentionally made this confusing or obtuse or far too didactic, but it wasn’t the case here.
Lost in the Deep End has multiple elements that does live up to it’s name despite the positive qualities on display. The acting was pretty stiff. While not terrible, I thought the characters should’ve emoted in better ways to sell the feelings and gravity of the plot. Marc felt more like a minor plot device than an actual character which was disappointing. I know he wasn’t the main character, but they could’ve done more with him. The biggest thing that really hampers the final score for me was the revelation as to why Franco ended up in the middle of the ocean. As soon as it got to the flashback where he was on the phone during a “bathroom break”, I knew where this was going as I got both Tyler Perry and Lifetime movie douche chills. That plot twist wasn’t clever and only adds to negative stereotypes for people who look like Franco. I can’t make it more obvious given the demographics of St. Kitts. While I won’t say who dumped Franco in the ocean even though it gets obvious after that scene (spoiler alert: it’s a female character!), this brings up an unfortunate implication and double standard. I hate to invoke some of my sentiments against The Garden of Words or Somers Town here, but this needs to be said even if it’s for different and more tame reasons. If a man dumped a woman into the ocean for the exact same reasons the aforementioned female character did it, then they’d get charged with attempted murder. Say what you will about the Eritrean movie Mano, but at least they showed that situation as a bad thing even if it was because of a gross misunderstanding and that female character is shown as being the villain in that juncture. This really hurt this short film hard for me.
This Kittitian film certainly looks great and has a nice usage of playing with timelines, but the punchline ruined so many things. It only lead to some negative stereotypes and I could easily see this as another part of the “Let’s break up the Black family” portfolio. They would’ve never tried this with a Caucasian family (geography aside) in other movies and the fact that this was a Black director who pulled this off was such a sellout move. It started out good, but it ended up being mediocre for me.
Adjustable Rating System:
Add 1-2 points if you like good visual production.
Subtract 1-2 points if you want stable families shown in your movies.
-Destroys poverty porn elements about the Caribbean
-Starts out very intriguing
-Unfortunate implications about the ending
-Racist subtext about the family being broken up
Final Score: 4/10 points
Content Warning: I think Lost in the Deep End would be fine for teens and up. There are adult themes with some drinking and with infidelity going on. Also, Franco getting thrown overboard is totally attempted murder, but the only reason why the person who did it got away with it was because she’s a woman. Let’s be honest here.
All photos property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws. Lost in the Deep End is property of Stephen Smith. The screenshot is from YouTube and is property of Stephen Smith.