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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Deliverance

Starring: Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds
Director: John Boorman
Rated: R
RunTime: 109 Minutes
Release Date: July 1972
Genres: Action, Drama

*Also starring: Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox, Bill McKinney, Herbert Cowboy Coward, James Dickey

Review by Walter Frith
No Rating Supplied

It's hard to imagine that director John Boorman's harrowing and hauntingly symmetrical film 'Deliverance' is actually a quarter of a century old. Released in 1972 and nominated for three Academy Awards, Best Picture, Best Director and Best Film Editing (I can't believe there were no acting nominations), it tells the story of four Georgia businessmen (Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox) out for a weekend of fresh air and the best that nature has to offer and instead they encounter the worst it has to offer. The film builds momentum slowly like a roller coaster riding its tracks to the top and then releases its fury of adventure and nightmarish commentary on the human conscience.

The quartet of actors mentioned (it was the film debut of Beatty and Cox) set out on an expedition to enjoy each other's company and the company of the outdoors and all is well until they become separated and Voight and Beatty are left to the tender mercies of two sadistic mountain men who aspire to violently beat, humiliate and rape them. Rescued by Reynolds and Cox, one of the mountain men is killed in the process and the main characters have to decide what to do with the body. From that point on they really get to know each other's killer instinct for survival and primal weakness to be preyed upon. The real star of this picture of Reynolds. Void of a moustache and the trappings of a 'Smokey and the Bandit' atmosphere Reynolds proved his acting ability head and shoulders above the rest of the cast as his portrait of a man who will do anything to survive is both chilling and brave in the same breath.

Jon Voight is a rather sombre character in the film, perfect to match Reynolds' personality and Beatty and Cox are equally impressive in their film debuts as a rape victim and a man lacking the intestinal fortitude of surviving the conflict of man vs. man. If you can find a widescreen version of this true American classic, rent it. Its scenery needs to be fully enjoyed to appreciate the entire film and 'Deliverance' is about as realistic a picture as any I have ever seen.

Copyright 1997 Walter Frith

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