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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'my friends, they not nice like me!', 19 Oct 2010
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This review is from: Southern Comfort [DVD] (DVD)
Superbly tough and atmospheric Vietnam allegory from Walter Hill.

Hill's films often have a theme in common - running the gauntlet, and 'Southern Comfort', like 'The Warriors'Warriors - Ultimate Director's Cut Edition (1979) [DVD], falls into this category.

A group of US National Guardsmen on exercises in the Louisiana bayou 'borrow' some boats from the local Cajuns. Unfortunately, the owners of the canoes return mid way through the pilfering. To top things off, an intellectually subnormal Private first class Stuckey (Lewis Smith) fires blanks at the already miffed backwoodsmen from a machinegun. Suffice it to say that things go rapidly downhill from there, as the disdgruntled (hairy, massive, and well armed) locals swap hunting mink for hunting weekend warriors.

The interplay of characters is well developed, with Powers Booth excelling as the outsider who's tougher than he looks, and Keith Carradine as a joker turned survivor. Thrown together in a nightmare scenario, bickering turns to deadly score settling as the ill prepared soldiers turn on each other. For many viewers, this film will be all about atmosphere - the claustraphobia of the almost featureless bayou, the dream-like slogging through knee deep water, never knowing when things will get grizzly. This atmosphere is of course enhanced by Ry Cooder's memorable score.

The film builds to an almost hypnotic climax at a lively party deep in (seemingly friendly) Cajun country - but should our surviving heroes let their hair down and 'allez, danse!' as their hosts suggest, or should they keep a firm hold on whatever weapons they can lay their hands on? A favourite film from my childhood that's as fresh as ever today.

Critical Social Theory and the End of Work (Rethinking Classical Sociology)
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