‘Deliverance’: Diddle-doom-doom-doom-doom-doom-doom-doom…

Deliverance (1972)

Directed by John Boorman

6/10  R

As per request by my father, here’s my review of Deliverance…here you go, dad. Directed by John Boorman (Exorcist II) and based on the novel by James Dickey, Deliverance stars Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, and Ned Beatty.

Four friends decide to take a canoe trip on a rapid river before it’s dammed up and turned into a lake. The group sets off, and meet some rocky (in more ways than one) patches along the journey. In the end, the survivors have to get their story straight in order to keep police off their tails. Once they get home, one dreams of getting caught, his guilty conscience being the real demon.

I’ve always loved “Dueling Banjos.” I never watched the whole movie, but I would always watch “Dueling Banjos” on YouTube. After watching the movie, I’m now sick of banjos. Instead of having a soundtrack, Deliverance uses only “Dueling Banjos” throughout the movie for background music. If the scene is action-packed, the banjo tune is sped up greatly. If it’s melancholy, the banjos slow down. Besides that, natural sound makes up the most of the movie’s background noise. Even that isn’t convincing, with bird noises being played constantly, most of which don’t sound indigenous to the American South, and even if they are, the tape is replayed every minute or so, and you can easily follow the path the birds sounds make every 60 seconds. I know this is 1972, but there’s no need to have such a boring soundtrack.

 The very nature of the scenes themselves are long, boring, and unnecessarily so. A scene with Jon Voight climbing a cliff doesn’t have to last 2 whole minutes, but with the scarce action the movie presents, apparently it must. Multiple times I thought a particularly boring scene would end, but I’ll be dammed (get it, dammed?) it continued on. Even the infamous “squeal like a piggy” scene could have been faster-paced and possibly with some non-banjo music.

Acting was overly dramatic, with Burt Reynolds always yelling, or looking around for killer hillbillies. There were positive aspects, however, like the story. No one to my knowledge had explored this journey in film before, and the fact that the bad guys were hillbillies isn’t often implemented, perhaps because it’s not very politically correct (the movie did make a few references to incest and subsequent genetic deficiencies, which are sometimes true but not the kindest of things to mention).

Overall, Deliverance doesn’t exactly strike a chord with me. While the idea is fairly original, the scenes drag on and the dialogue is weak, leading to a rather forgettable film. Sorry, dad.

Deliverance is on Blu-ray and DVD.

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2 thoughts on “‘Deliverance’: Diddle-doom-doom-doom-doom-doom-doom-doom…

  1. I saw this film when it originally came out and I have been curious to see it again as I remember it being good and scary! Guess it hasn’t aged well. Now you’ve made me want to see it again just to see if I agree with you!

  2. Maybe it’s just my generation and our incessant need for flashy, action-filled scenes, but I thought it was far too dragged out. I enjoy slow, deep, movies, but this one just didn’t work. I did enjoy the last scene, when Jon Voight’s character has a nightmare about getting caught. If they cut the first part short and lengthened the guilt trips of the characters, it might be good. I like psychological thrillers.

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