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Genre: Adventure Drama Thriller
Starring: Jon Voight (Midnight Cowboy • Heat), Burt Reynolds (Smokey And The Bandit • The Longest Yard)
Directed By: John Boorman (Point Blank • Excalibur)
Overview: A group of friends go camping in the Georgian Catskills. The trip goes wrong, horribly bad wrong.
Hillbilly mountain men, city slickers and inbred banjo players alike all do a tremendous job. Sometimes it's difficult to properly portray emotions this raw, something this extreme. Voight's injury was not enough of a burden to him, andit distrated just a little. Film has far too much of this, if you ask me.
Beautiful shots of the Catskills and the river, rusted out old cars and rickety bridges. This movie puts a disaster among the backdrop of the best that nature has to offer. There was a couple of scenes though where the sky looked strange. So much so that Jon Voight's face was blurred by it. It seems the day-for-night lens that I presume was being used was the cause of this. It only lasted a couple seconds. Otherwise, nothing so distracting.
"He's got a mighty purdy mouth, don't he?"
"What the hell you wanna fuck around that river for?!"
The characters speak truth and the things they do seem relatively believable, except for Burt Reynolds' overly Zen attitude to being at one with nature. For a while there I though the plan they came up with near the end of their trip was poorly written, but I realized afterwards that it was a good reaction by people in a state of near panic.
There were a few holes in the plot, most notably the fact that it's very difficult for someone to break a femur bone. After some debate, I was convinced that it was indeed not impossible, but I wasn't completely convinced that this situation warranted it. Without spoiling the end to anyone, there was one other issue I found didn't sit well, but the overall idea is so incredibly original that this movie is constantly quoted to this day as a yardstick of redneck stereotype. Great plot.
A great setting, a wonderful trip, a mood of light adventure, then all of a sudden you stop and realize this is not a weekend getaway "connect with nature" kind of movie. A much deeper lesson lies in this film and once that scene hits you, the mood changes to terror and survival, and you stay there... And you're there at the edge of your seat for a quite a while. So much nail-biting drama that it's hard to contain yourself. Tremendous!
Overall Rating: 82% (Truly Memorable)
It's an American Classic, worthy of the list of "Must See" films. The Edge and Alive have nothing on this for the simple fact that in a twisted world, this could happen to anyone. This was the first time I saw this movie in its unedited, widescreen grandeur, and I'm glad I saw it with someone who had no idea what it was about. It was fun taking someone along for the adventure. I'll remember it as a Saturday afternoon well spent.