Deliverance, 1972, USA
Director: John Boorman
Stars: Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds & Ned Beatty
''Sometimes you have to lose yourself 'fore you can find anything.''
‘Deliverance’ is a film which I consider one of my favorites of all time. I have a peculiar routine with this film though. There comes a time every year where I get the strong urge to see this film again, I then rewatch the film and its clouding mystery and mental assault consume my thoughts for several weeks before I look back upon the film with admiration before the cycle starts all over again. There are few films that can make me continuously feel like I am experiencing it for the first time but John Boorman's visceral classic is one of those films, and is one that never fails to thrill,enthrall,shock,horrify and leave me in awe.
Four friends decide to spend the weekend at the soon to be extinct Cahulawassee River, but soon become embroiled in impending danger as they meet the disgruntled locals.
I have found that when people refer to 'Deliverance' they usually only bring up two scenes, The Dueling Banjos and the ''Squeal like a pig'', I guess this is fair enough, I mean 'Banjos' may be one of the greatest scenes in film history and the other may be the most disturbing, but what irks me is that people seem to forget that 'Deliverance' is a brilliant film. Actually, I would make the argument that it is perhaps amongst the greatest ever made.
I believe I have seen this film now around half a dozen times now and even upon this viewing there is little details that I have never picked up on before, small things and symbolism that make this film so much more complex than you would originally think. There is so much that gets lost in fray of the film, such as the old woman at the Grinder bros house tending to the invalid child, This is a scene that always escapes my mind and I really am not sure of its purpose in the narrative but is something that sets an unpredictable tone for the rest of the film. Speaking of setting a tone, The Dueling Banjos scene is every bit incredible as its made out to be, A truly iconic moment that has never lost its ability to unsettle the audience, the same can be said for the rest of the film.
This film is almost perfectly crafted, there really is not a moment that feels wasted and you will most likely be on the edge of your seat for the entire duration of the film. Its a terrifically paced that is brilliantly orchestrated by Director John Boorman, whom basically throws his audience into the journey along side the four central characters. The film is adapted by James Dickey from his novel (he also cameos as the police sheriff at the end of the film) he does a terrific job and alludes to many different concerns such as morality, the changing times and not messing with what you don't understand.
'Deliverance' is a brilliantly shot film that boasts some incredible Cinematography from Vilmos Zsigmond. The only thing I can flaw this film on from a technical level, is the use of the night filter when Ed is climbing the gorge, it is incredibly hard to visually navigate what it taking place in that scene. The score of this film is phenomenal, the Banjo music that plays throughout is absolutely unforgettable and only adds to the tension.
The performances of the principal cast are great, Jon Voight gives arguably the best performance of his career as Ed, despite the under lining male crush his character seems to have Louis. Burt Reynolds is also very good in this film, and Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox are terrific. The cast really conveyed realism, all of these characters actually came off as real people and I could understand there motives behind there actions.
In my view, 'Deliverance' is a masterpiece of cinema. A beautifully crafted film that has lost none of its ability to shock and enthrall audiences. One of the best films of the 70's and arguably of all time.