In the Quotable Quotes section of a Reader’s Digest I read several years ago, a wise man commented that “if you want something done (right), do it yourself, pay someone to do it, or forbid your children to do it.” These words resonate profoundly. There are many situations where the only way to complete a task correctly is for you to do it yourself. Robert Christie’s film “Shallow Deep” is a cautionary tale that subscribes to this idea.
The film involves a thief, his female accomplices, and a few million dollars. Throw in a couple hidden agendas and let the back-stabbing begin. The central conflict hovers around Rain (Don Austin), Tina (Sandra Lynn O’ Brien), and Morgan (Lynn Sprinkle), the new partner-in-crime. Rain and Tina used to rob the bank where she was employed until she was arrested and sent to prison. Before she’s caught, though, she senses that Rain has an ulterior motive. Thus, Tina hides the money she and Rain stole. Once she is out of prison, guess who comes looking for her? To mix in another storyline and a half, Lieutenant Lazaro (David R. Calhoun) and his two gumshoes are on Rain’s trail, and Tina’s probation officer (Brian Dragonuk) is looking for her.
The acting is far from even People’s Choice-worthy, but the film at least keeps hold of your attention span. The story maintains your curiosity as to who’s going to find the hidden money and who’s going to die. One of the techniques the director employs to compensate for mediocre acting is to get you to identify with the protagonist. A third of “Shallow Deep” is designated to develop Tina’s character so that you will form a bond with her. In other words, when the film reveals that there really is no honor among thieves, the director wants you to root for Tina. She isn’t the most charming of characters and her voice sounds much too low than it ought to be, but you do cheer her on to emerge as the victor.
“Shallow Deep” bears a double-edged message: either commit the crime yourself or be cunning enough to outsmart your accomplices. As members of a “civilized” society, we’re supposed to uphold the dogma that crime never pays. Realistically, though, we all can’t be so saintly. If you ever find yourself on the wrong side of the law, keep the Quotable Quote in mind.
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