The bath in "Deep End" is not so much a place for getting clean as a place for indulging fantasies, generally sexual, and Skolimowski, who drops symbols the way detective writers drop clues, is not about to ignore any of its possibilities. All through the film, the peeling blues and greens on the walls are being painted over with hot colors, mostly red, to match the growth of passion and to set things up for the climax, in which the décor is at least as important as the action—and indeed is inseparable from it….
Like Truffaut's Antoine Doinel, to whom he owes a good deal, [Mike] muddles through. But unlike Antoine, what he muddles through to has only a nightmare relation to the cultural mainstream and the affectionate light of common day.
Although it has a strong and good story, "Deep End" is put together out of individual, usually comic routines. Many of these don't work, but many more work very well.
Roger Greenspun, "Skolimowski Director of Paris's Feature," in The New York Times (© 1971 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), August 11, 1971 (and reprinted in The New York Times Film Reviews: 1971–1972, The New York Times Company & Arno Press, 1973, p. 115).