By Nicholas (England)
Does it stand the test of time?
I was a late bloomer when it came to the 1972 classic that is Deliverance. However, I was very much aware of the many references and moments that occur within the film, some shocking, and some thought provoking.
The film isn’t just about a group of city based men on a hellish outdoor experience, it unleashes many theories and thought provoking ideas of society and the survival of the fittest. The film offers a broad approach to the many opinions one could have on the state of society and how ‘the system’ benefits or destroys ones vision of a life worth living.
Each character, all brilliantly played, are eventually pitted against the great outdoors. Lewis, the most experienced of the outdoors suffers a painful leg injury due to intense rapids. Bobby, the overweight and slightly naive member of the group is brutally sodamized by a local hillbilly. Ed, who slowly becomes the leader of the group, is almost forced to fellate a local hillbilly at gunpoint. And finally Drew, the musician and the by-the-book member of the group, suffers death at the hands of the raging rapids.
It is the story of who has the ability to survive. My most personal moment in the film, and to me the most realistic, is the killing of the hillbilly who sodomizes Bobby. He suffers at the hand of Lewis’ arrow which kills him slowly but surely. Revenge has been served. Justice has been served. But, the law and the moral of the killing? Well, this is what makes Deliverance stand out from the rest. Not only does it unleash themes of survival like no other film, but it makes some interesting points which give the characters more realistic natures and also something to think about. Even 40 years on, it still remains a classic and one of the most shocking films of the 70’s.
I sometimes wonder if Christopher Nolan has gained influence from this film from the importance of building suspense without the need of music. We, as an audience, are left stranded with dear and suspense, like the great outdoors. We are, like the characters, forced to think for ourselves.
What makes this film a classic, is the many memorable scenes from the duelling banjos, setting the scene for unfortunate events, the brutal rape of Bobby (never do we forget “squeal piggy, squeal”) and the river rapids challenging the men at who has what it takes to survive. A must watch for film-fans.