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Deliverance (Bilingual) [Import]
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One of the key films of the 1970s, John Boorman's Deliverance is a nightmarish adaptation of poet-novelist James Dickey's book about various kinds of survival in modern America. The story concerns four Atlanta businessmen of various male stripe: Jon Voight's character is a reflective, civilized fellow, Burt Reynolds plays a strapping hunter-gatherer in urban clothes, Ned Beatty is a sweaty, weak-willed boy-man, and Ronny Cox essays a spirited, neighborly type. Together they decide to answer the ancient call of men testing themselves against the elements and set out on a treacherous ride on the rapids of an Appalachian river. What they don't understand until it is too late is that they have ventured into Dickey's variation on the American underbelly, a wild, lawless, dangerous (and dangerously inbred) place isolated from the gloss of the late 20th century. In short order, the four men dig deep into their own suppressed primitiveness, defending themselves against armed cretins, facing the shock of real death on their carefully planned, death-defying adventure, and then squarely facing the suspicions of authority over their concealed actions. Boorman, a master teller of stories about individuals on peculiarly mythical journeys, does a terrifying and beautiful job of revealing the complexity of private and collective character--the way one can never be the same after glimpsing the sharp-clawed survivor in one's soul. --Tom Keogh
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Deliverance has VC-1 (21 Mbps) 1080p 2.40:1 encode, which is similar to its 35th Anniversary release. The 35th Anniversary release was minted from a new master. Director John Boorman and director of photography Vilmos Zsigmond explain in the included supplements that they intentionally shot Deliverance in a desaturated, soft style, and it certainly looks it. Therefore, don't expect a presentation that is ultra razer sharp, colourful or high-contrast. The print (while not pristine) is generally clean and free of dirt and speckles. On the plus side, daytime exteriors can look great. Colours brighten up, especially fleshtones. Depth improves noticeably, and the detail verges on the lush, with even longshots nicely textured. Only close-ups come near to delivering the kind of high-def we're generally accustomed to these days, but still, compared to all past video versions (especially the horrid pan & scan VHS copies that were available for years), Deliverance has never looked better. (3.5/5)
Great news! Perhaps learning from their recent blunder on the Unforgiven: 20th Anniversary Edition, Warner has wisely decided to replace the previous blu ray’s lossy mix with a new DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless track. The rear speakers are more assertive, more arresting even, than in most catalog remixes but never at the expense of the film's original sound design. The chorus of the forest - the chirping, croaking and rustling - join the rhythms of the river - the rushing, surging and roaring - to create an enveloping, unexpectedly immersive soundfield that defies forty years of age. It not only revitalizes Deliverance, it makes it that much more thrilling, harrowing and, eventually, unsettling. Dialogue is mostly clean.Read more ›
The foursome hire some possibly-inbred hillbillies to drive their cars down to Aintry to be picked up later. Off they go downriver. They encounter small rapids, bugs, and then Ed and Bobby are assaulted by two unpleasant hillbillies. They make Bobbie drop his drawers and squeal like a pig, and tell Ed he has a "real purty mouth". Louis and Drew sneak up on them and kill one of the men as the other runs off.
This leads to a moral dilemma among the four canoers. Do they tell the cops? Do they bury the body and act innocent? They make a decision, and continue downstream. At one point going through some rapids, Drew falls overboard, apparently shot by the second hillbilly, and Louis breaks his leg. Bobby camps out with Louis as Ed climbs up a cliff to reconnoitre and ferret out the second man. Finally, they continue down to Aintry, where they recuperate, and are questioned about their experience.
The screenplay was written by James Dickey based on his book, and he has a small part as the sheriff who wonders what the men had been up to.
Good ensemble acting (probably Burt's best role), beautiful photography and locations, and a great story make this an impressive movie. Oscar nominations for director (John Boorman), picture and editing, and Golden Globe nominations for director, picture, actor (Voight), song ("Dueling Banjos") and screenplay. The reasonably-priced DVD has the R-rated full-screen and wide-screen format movie, a good documentary, English or French language and subtitles, Dolby sound, chapters, cast/crew/production notes, and a trailer.
Even if it's not your cup of tea (due to the disturbing nature of the film), it's something everybody should watch at least once. John Voight is the audience member's representation--even if he doesn't say much, he does a great understated acting job, making clear the horror that he feels, and that we feel through him.
Ronny Cox plays the conscience, Burt Reynolds the ego, and Ned Beatty the victim of the human condition, and tied in with the wonderful cinematography, filmed on location in Georgia, this is one of the most suspenseful movies of all time.
It's also famous for the 'Duelling Banjos' scene that opens the film--unforgettable, and it sets the tone for the rest of the film, when Ronny Cox puts it best:
Vilmos Zigmond (although a few manipulated day for night shots look a bit wacky). The film moves at an even, moderate pace,
without ever hurting the tension or drama.
Thematically, it is an examination of the destructive nature of male machismo, the price of survival, the darkness of the human
heart, the lies we're willing to tell ourselves and the world to get on, and the split between those of the land and those who use the land.
These are not small themes, and sometimes they're a little too on the nose (e.g. dialogue like 'sometimes you have to get lost to find
yourself' – although I'm not sure if the film is embracing that platitude or making very dark fun of it). At other times exactly what it's
saying seems a bit fuzzy, or like it wants to have all its thematic cakes and eat them too. (Men need to be challenged to find their real
self, but – on the other hand – trying to find your 'real self' may be an illusory path to your own destruction, literal or metaphoric).
Also, I could see the poverty stricken people of the US Appalachian mountains, who already carry understandable anger as being
constantly portrayed as stupid, inbred and violent, taking offense to the film, and they'd have a point.
Yet all that said, this is a movie that's more about a visceral experience than a collage thesis dissection, and that is where 'Deliverance'
excels. It takes us to hell, and only partly back, and we get immersed in the journey in a way all too few films pull off. It is quite like
being lost in a bad dream. And I mean that as a compliment.
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I used to live in a place where you were sure the banjo player lived.Published 5 months ago by Dr. Doug Powers
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