You don’t beat this river.

John Boorman’s Deliverance is often cited as a landmark film, so while watching it I was keen to attempt to observe just what about it made it a so-called landmark. Suffice it to say, I couldn’t come up with anything. The film was effective, I’ll give it that, but just what about it made it a landmark film escaped me. It didn’t have that wow factor that a truly classic film has; instead, it opts for the lowest amount of material to create a sense of transparent emptiness, making for a harrowing affair.

The film is moody, and very sparse in both content and character, yet it is this scarcity of filmmaking essentials that weirdly enough leaves the biggest mark on us the viewers; what does happen in the film is that much more potent when it does happen. Even with the limited content of the film, it still manages to span an hour and fifty minutes, and not feel like it is stalling for time; rather, the film opts for a deliberate pace and a methodical way of going about its business. Nevertheless, with all its empty space, the film is very excellently shot and pieced together; there was more than enough of each individual shot to cut it together just right, each shot was carefully and deliberately chosen and filmed, and even with the difficulty the film must’ve had to get some of the shots, especially those in the water, the film still manages to be well sewn together. The soundtrack, very much hillbilly inspired, was also a nice treat the film had to give.

I liked what this had to offer, but I can see how many won’t be pleased with either the film’s slow pacing or lack of real substance. Still, the film managed to keep me entertained through the running time, and while I found the ending somewhat hackneyed, I was still overall pleased with the experience. Again, I didn’t really see what made this film such an iconic and classic film, but I enjoyed it, which I know is more than I can say for some people that will venture into this one. It’s a hard truth, but it’s what I ended up with.

Arbitrary Rating: 7/10


4 thoughts on “Deliverance

  1. It was probably the first film to feature a man on man rape scene. Not exactly something people want to see, but landmark nonetheless.

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