Picks and Pans Review: Southern Comfort
Anyone who has ridden the rapids of the Chattahoochee River will find this familiar territory indeed. Comparisons with Deliverance are inevitable, since this film is about nine Louisiana National Guardsmen who get lost on maneuvers in the bayous and run afoul of the native Cajuns. Missing, however, is the tremendous tension that existed between hunter and hunted in Deliverance. The screenplay basically boils down to two questions: Who will be the next to go, and how grisly will it be? (One standard clue is the higher the star billing, the longer the character is likely to last.) The performances are uniformly good. Keith Carradine strikes the right chord as a wisecracking Guardsman who is forced to take charge, and Powers Boothe, who won an Emmy for his portrayal of the Rev. Jim Jones, does a splendid job of speaking softly and carrying a big knife. As he proved in The Warriors and The Long Riders, director Walter Hill has a keen visual sense. He captures the brooding bayou country and seldom-glimpsed Cajun subculture effectively. Yet it is the story itself which finally fails to live up to its exotic surroundings. (R)
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