I recently did a review of Deliverance, where I posited that I couldn’t really find what about the film made it such a landmark film in the eyes of so many. So when I got myself all ready to watch a previous John Boorman film, Point Blank, I purposefully didn’t expect much. Well, after seeing it, I understand Deliverance a little better; I still don’t see much in the latter, but I can tell that this is the film that made a film like Deliverance possible. Watching the film, I can see how it made Boorman a name in Hollywood, with its patchwork editing and no-holds-barred storyline.
The film is very disjointed, jumping around a lot, which made it incredibly hard to follow, and indeed might make more than a few viewers give up not even halfway through the film. Once I got used to it, though, I found it incredibly fresh and exciting; the film loves to revel in its non-linearity, jumping from present action to flashback to memory recall as fast as a heartbeat, a set of footsteps, or the squeezing of a trigger. Along with the editing style, the film also (only at certain points, however) had a great string of clever and arresting visual images in its cinematography, often for no other reason than a great idea for a shot that just had to be captured; this film really knew what the hell it was doing when it was being shot, and kudos to Boorman and his cinematographer for all they accomplish. Another special mention goes out to Lee Marvin and his realization of the lead character; without him, the film wouldn’t have had the main anchor that a lead otherwise provides, as the script doesn’t really call for much, so congrats to Marvin for pulling through with flair.
This isn’t a film that’s ahead of its time; it has no time. It is so far separate from anything else of its time that it stands completely alone amidst the wavy seas of the genres of cinema. This would definitely be in the running for the title of the ultimate revenge film; it does just about everything right, and is wickedly entertaining to boot. Even with its disjointed structure, the film becomes quite straightforward enough once the film tempers down somewhat and you get used to the way it tells its story. There’s a lot to discover here, and it is certainly an experience I would place on a must see list, and one I’d recommend.
Arbitrary Rating: 9/10