Do you ever look at people and wonder how they started life in a certain way and then got derailed? I mean, look at Tom Cruise. In his youth he wanted to be a Catholic priest and now he's a member of Scientology, an expensive and popularized cult. How do you get there?
I look at David Jason (Goldblum's character) in Deep Cover in much the same way, with a highly quizzical expression and a need to understand. Because I know why Laurence Fishburne's character, Russell Stevens Jr., is doing what he's doing. He's a cop under cover, really deep cover, trying to take down a drug ring. He has to get in tight with the bad boys, which unfortunately means selling some drugs on the street, which frankly, I'm not sure would have actually happened. But hey, this is the movies. What do you want? Accuracy?
No, what I'm talking about is David Jason. He is an apparent upstanding American citizen of Jewish heritage with a charming blonde wife and adorable little daughter. He is literally living the American dream, fine house, nice car, perfect life. Except that his life is built on lies and drugs and immorality. He is Russell's point of contact with the drug cartel. Everything about Jason is a lie.
On the exterior, Jason appears pristine, handsome, likeable even, in typical Jeff Goldblum fashion. But on the inside, he is corrupt. There is a high probability that David Jason was raised by devout Jewish parents. They likely prayed daily, took him to Synagogue, and he probably had a bar Mitzvah. To say nothing of celebrating Hanukkah and and Passover and all of the other traditions that go along with being, well, Jewish. But somewhere along that traditional religious path, he took one step down a different road.
The movie viewer is introduced to him in the home setting. He's with his wife and his daughter, and he's trying to keep his wife from giving his daughter the answers to the math questions in her homework because she needs to learn the method, not just the answers. He seems so . . . normal. So nice.
Slowly, the film chips away at that facade.
He's a drug dealer. Okay, maybe he's in it because he's being pressured. Nope, it appears not, because he's sniffing cocaine. All right, so he's a drug user too. At least he's not an adulterer. Oh, no, yes, he's an adulterer too, sleeping with any and every skank he can chase between the sheets (no actual scenes, thank heavens). Man, that's really troubling, but at least he's not a killer. Whoops, he's killed somebody.
And than, almost worst of all, it turns out that his wife actually knows about his involvement with the drugs and the sex. She knows where their money is coming from, of his unfaithfulness to her as a husband. She knows, but she still stays with him. It was the final death knell in the coffin of his character.
Literally every sin we could consider a major sin, David Jason commits. They start out small, like most compromises. And then they build until Jason finds that he can't get enough. He's done nearly everything. Every sexual perversion of interest to him, he's performed. He's obscenely wealthy, and he is now running out of things to satisfy him. The hunger keeps building and building, and the viewer sees his insatiability manifested as the film progresses. His behavior escalates, his need for titillation.
Isn't that the way with sin? It keeps pushing the barrier, forcing us to compromise more and more until we find ourselves in places of perversion we never imagined going. The David Jason eventually gunned down in a pool of blood is not the David Jason raised by his parents. He took one step off the straight and narrow, then another, and then he just kept right on walking to his death. I did not even mourn the loss of the character. By that point he was so morally reprehensible that I wanted him dead. At least then he wouldn't be selling drugs to innocent kids.
For Christians it is sometimes comforting to think that everyone stands a chance of finding salvation. But what about those people that constantly harden their hearts against God? At some point, He will say, "If you want your heart hard, I will harden it." There are numerous accounts through scripture of man hardening his own heart and then finally, God doing it for him. Romans 9:18 tells us, "Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden."
David Jason had countless times to turn away from his wickedness. There were even times when Russell Stevens almost broke cover in an effort to hold him back, but it never worked. Jason just wanted more and more, more sin, more pleasure, more fulfillment, all resulting in such horrific emptiness and eventual death.
I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting when I watched Deep Cover. I think a review I read seriously mislead me because I expected Goldblum's character to end up being a good guy in the end. Yeah, well . . . not. Still, it gives me pause. What we present, what I present, to others is not always who I am underneath. David Jason's friends and neighbors had no idea of his true nature. Who I am on the inside needs to reflect the person that people see. I want others to see light in me. I don't want to have any darkness that needs to be hidden. It's a shame that David Jason never reached the same realization.
Disclaimer: In no way do I endorse any of my readers ever watching Deep Cover. I found a cautionary tale within the depths of the story worth examining. Some people even claim it is Goldblum's finest achievement, but I cannot overlook the nudity (not Goldblum) and excessive language. Violence I can handle up to a point, but the very topic of this film, the dirty underbelly of drug dealers and a deep cover cop, makes it morose, depressing, and certainly not for children or for the highly sensitive. I watched it on my Kindle screen, thankfully only 8 inches wide. Deep Cover earns its R rating.