Southern Comfort [Blu-ray]  [US Import]
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Many reviewers compare the film to the well loved classic Deliverance, which also a firm favourite of mine. However whilst the two films share a common theme, they are quite unique in their own ways.
The story shows a routine exercise with the Louisiana National Guard, in a dense forest area. Powers Boothe plays Cpl. Hardin, newly transferred in from the Texas National Guard. Keith Carradine is Private Spencer, a chilled out and smooth talking part time soldier who takes things less seriously than most of his fellow soldiers. Heading up the section is Peter Coyote as Staff Sgt. Poole, who has a fairly minor role in the film, but still his appearance is welcome.
Things take a turn for the worse when the men decide to "borrow" some boats that the native Cajuns (French speaking ethnic group) own. After this we see the two sides pitted against each other, leaving the Guardsmen in a desperate fight for survival. What makes matters worse is that due to the non combat exercise the soldiers have mostly blanks and little live ammunition, this leaves them vulnerable to the Cajun attackers who know the terrain well, and are better equipped. It's clear from the start that most of the section have little to no combat experience.
We have a good mix of characters in the squad from the serious but lacking combat knowledge Sgt. Casper (Les Lannom), and Fred Ward (as Reece) who goes off the rails in a silent and dangerous way. Don't dismiss the cast members as cliché, they all fit a role well and portray a mix of individuals and how they might deal with a nightmare scenario they face.
Carradine and Boothe command most screen time and do a good job of it too.Read more ›
Were it not for its similarity to Boorman's film, this would seem a masterpiece, as tough character actors like Fred Ward, Powers Boothe and Keith Carradine squabble their way through various chases and standoffs deliberately modelled on Vietnam. In the end, because 'Deliverance' went into full-on nightmare, it sticks more in the mind. But few of Walter Hill's movies are dull, and this is tense and nasty, with superbly atmospheric camerawork and a typically vivid score from Hill's frequent musical collaborator Ry Cooder.
Not many features on this DVD, but it deserves a place in your collection, either as a less painful version of 'Deliverance's harsh message, or a brutally effective suspenser in its own right.
This film is a classic i recommend it to everyone,you will not be disappointed
Scratch away, and Southern Comfort becomes more than your usual, standard action fare. This is Hill's take on the Vietnam war, but this time Americans are confronting fellow Americans, with the Cajun woodsmen standing in for the North Vietnamese, the hapless platoon's technical superiority no match for the Cajun's woodcraft.
As with any good war film, the true heart lies away from the action scenes, the interplay between the platoon members switches from cosy familiarity to weariness, to hostility, as the fight for survival becomes more pronounced, Hill cleverly subverting the action genre tropes, as the pillars of American society crumble, and the odd balls rise to the occasion.
The cinematography is also worth noting - the great primordial swamp of Louisiana never looking more dismal...or green.
With a great Ry Cooder soundtrack adding some icing to the cake, Southern Comfort is Hill's masterpiece, the high watermark of a distinguished career.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Pleased with my purchase. Ordered as a gift and the recipient was very happy.Published 9 days ago by Helen
THE BLU-RAY VERSION KILLS THE OLD DVD STONE DEAD. IF YOU ENJOY THIS FILM BUY IT NOW! THE DISK ARRIVED IN 24 HOURS AFTER ORDERING IT, HOW'S THAT FOR SERVICE.Published 6 months ago by JIMMY HALF