thriller
Deliverance
.
Dir: John Boorman
Star: Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ronny Cox, Ned Beatty
Cert / Year: 18 - R / 1972
Format: DVD R2
'

Four friends decide to take a canoe trip through the wilderness along the picturesque Cahulawasse River (Really the Chattooga River in Georgia, USA) down to the small town of Aintry, before it all gets immersed under a huge man made lake. The quartet of friends consist of Lewis, (Burt Reynolds) Ed (Jon Voight) Lewis' best friend, Drew (Ronny Cox) and Bobby (Ned Beatty) who are a couple of Ed's friends from the city. After arranging for their cars to be driven down to Aintry by a couple of local hillbilly's (and engaging in the famous "feudin' banjo's" scene) the gang load their canoes and take to the water. After experiencing their first stretch of white water and the adrenalin rush with it, the gang begin to see what Lewis finds so exhilarating about his wilderness trips and are glad that they agreed to go along instead of playing golf.

Lewis and Ed have taken several trips before and Ed slightly lacking in the killer instinct of a hunter unlike Lewis is determined to bag a deer on this trip. For the other men the trip is a journey of self discovery, an escape from the mundane and banal lives they lead in the city they are in awe of the wonder of nature. The raging white water rapids, the dense forests surrounding them and the fantastic scenery and the pure exhilaration they feel being in the middle of it all and at one with nature. Unfortunately the little weekend trip takes the men through the heart of hillbilly or mountain man country, and an inevitable confrontation is just a matter of time.

Taken from the novel by James Dickey, who also provided the screenplay Deliverance is undoubtibly a cinema classic. The film is a tense and harrowing story possibly made a little more un-nerving by the fact that it is of course highly plausible. From the start of the movie you just know that there is going to be trouble, as soon as they "invade" the hill billy territory you can just see that they are in over their heads. The oppressive and imposing feel of the film is definately one of it's strong points and as the film meanders steadily on, the tension mounts as the men balance precariously upon the knife edge of survival.

The fantastic cast provide some compelling performances and Burt Reynolds more than adequately fulfills his action hero role, and it is a shame he didn't do more like it instead of all the silly comedy stuff which he did later. Jon Voight handles the role exceptionally well and works well with Reynolds. Ned Beatty (Superman) who had perhaps one of the hardest roles, deals with his "squeal like a pig scene" remarkably well and provides one of the best all round performances. Ronny Cox, ( Total Recall) however is a good actor but I feel he seems a little out of his depth with this role and maybe he should stick to playing the obligatory "corporate bad guy" (see Total Recall and Robocop for proof).

Splendid direction from John Boorman who breathes life into this story with some fine photography and his own unique style of action direction. Possibly not his best endeavour but a good film all the same, but personally I feel Excalibur is a much better example of his work and a superior film. On the whole Deliverance is a good film most definately disturbing and yet unique, but at times a little long winded and has some unrealised potential, the only other film with a similar story base is Southern Comfort but I think that Deliverance handles the story marginally better.

Quote

Squeal, like a pig boy!

Rating: 3 out of 5

DVD
Picture 2.35:1 Widescreen sharp but occasionally grainy
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Good quality soundtrack
Features Dull static menu
Verdict Considering the age of this film it looks and sounds great, but some extras would have been a nice addition to the disc.

Rating: 1 out of 5

Reviewed by Logan Back Top Home