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Southern Comfort [Blu-ray]
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'Pulsating, terrifying, with a grip like steel' - Empire
From Walter Hill, legendary director of The Warriors and The Long Riders, comes this gripping cult classic.
A routine training exercise in the Louisiana bayou becomes and all too real war of attrition when a unit of brash National Guardsmen unwittingly upset a group of local Cajun hunters. Lost in unknown territory and armed with little more than blank ammo, the weekend soldiers face a terrifying battle for survival against an unforgiving enemy hidden deep in the heart of the swampland.
Available on bluray for the first time
'Will he live or will he die?' - a newly commissioned interview with director Walter Hill (45 mins)
Southern Comfort is more than merely Deliverance in the Louisiana Bayou. Walter Hill's taut little tale of weekend warrior National Guardsman on swamp exercises reverberates with echoes of Vietnam. Powers Booth brings a hard pragmatism to the "new guy" in the unit, a Texas transplant less than thrilled with his new unit. "They're just Louisiana versions of the same rednecks I served with in El Paso", he tells level-headed Keith Carradine.
The barely functional unit of city boys and macho rednecks invade the environs of the local Cajun trappers and poachers, "borrowing" the locals' boats and sending bursts of blank rounds over their heads in a show of contempt. Before they know it the dysfunctional strangers in a strange land are on the losing end of guerrilla war. The swamp rats kill their commanding officer (Peter Coyote) and terrorise the bickering bunch as they flee blindly through the jungle without a map, a compass, or a leader to speak of. Hill directs with a clean simplicity, creating tension as much from the primal landscape and the Cajuns' unsettling reign of terror as from the dynamics of a platoon of battle virgins tearing itself apart from rage and fear. Ry Cooder's eerie and haunting score and the primal, claustrophobic landscape only intensifies the paranoia as the city boys splinter with infighting (sparked by a bullying Fred Ward), blunder through booby traps and ambushes, and finally turn just as savage as their pursuers in their drive to survive. --Sean Axmaker, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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 7 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