Inspirational adventure is interlaced with stern reality in John Boorman's multilayered and incredibly perceptive thriller Deliverance. The simple story of four 30-somethings who embark on a canoe trip on a river deep into the woods of Georgia, and get more than they bargained for, is a masterly told story full of existential parables. Our modern and civilized protagonists go searching for nature and primitiveness, in order to get closer to themselves ostensibly, and end up battling humanity's crudest and most basal nature. It is when we have been stripped of our facades and social setting that we'll really find out what we are made of, claims James Dickey through his complex script based on his own novel.
It must be said that Dickey's story
could easily have ended up as a mediocre film, had the director not
treated it with intelligence and sensitivity. Boorman realizes the many
aspects of the story and presents them carefully and delicately. Aided
by the fascinating, seclusive locations (around Chattooga River
principally), Boorman was able to scrutinise human endurance, loyalty
and rationality in an intrinsically timeless manner. He also got career
best performances out of his actors, including Jon Voight's intelligent,
sensitive Ed, and Burt Reynolds' unveiled and forceful work as Lewis. For
once, Reynolds evoked melancholy and emotion, not laughter and
cheerfulness. Great work also from Beatty, Cox and McKinney conclude
this haunting epic.