Four city-dwelling friends take a canoe trip through the Georgia
wilderness that quickly turns into a terrifying nightmare.
Directed by John Boorman
Written by James Dickey
Starring Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty,
Ronny Cox, Bill McKinney, Herbert Coward
Based on the novel by James Dickey
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Director, Best Film Editing
No movie is more synonymous with male sexual assault than Deliverance, which admittedly was probably not the film's intent. Still, it features an infamous scene where Ned Beatty gets raped by a mountain man while being forced to "squeal like a pig." Even people who haven't seen the film know this scene. It's a scene that's overshadowed the film for decades, and led people like myself to assume Deliverance was a horror film or at least close to it. It's more of an action thriller at times, but more than anything else, it's boring. Ninety percent of Deliverance is watching four friends on a boat, with the occasional interruption. I must say I'd hoped for better.
Lewis (Reynolds) is an outdoors fanatic. He loves the wilderness and wants to canoe down the Cahulawassee River before it's damned by a big corporation. He takes his friends Ed (Voight), Bobby (Beatty) and Drew (Cox) with him, and these city folk don't exactly gel with the good ol' country boys who live there. There's animosity, which turns into tension, which turns into attempted murder. After the rape scene, the rapist is killed by Lewis, and now the friends have to decide how to handle the corpse. Things start to get interesting around there, but the fallout is fairly minimal and could've gone to a bigger, darker place with a little more imagination.
I really wanted so much more from Deliverance. Something in the vein of films like Southern Comfort or Wrong Turn. Instead, I got a dull film about a camping trip that stands solely on the performances of the four leads. And of course, the still awesome "dueling banjos" scene. Who doesn't love that?