Backwoods Lord of the Flies
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Most of us have some idea of one or two things that take place in Deliverance. One particular scene is burned into the cultural landscape. I decided to watch Deliverance and see for myself what the film is actually about. Here's what I got out of it. Four men decide that they are going to conquer the wilderness, so they take off on a canoe trip without being particularly prepared for it. Lewis, the leader, seems to embody the mentality that "Real Men" don't need or make plans. Preparation is weakness. One suspects that for all his outdoorsy manliness, he was never a Boy Scout. To be fair, it's hard to prepare for a completely random and senseless attack from some crazy people. Much violence ensues. Man turns on man. People die. Lives are wrecked. You get the feeling that there is a pig's head stuck on a stick just out of view of the camera. Civilization's veneer is pulled away to reveal that we are all just animals struggling for survival. Or something. Really if the two psychopaths hadn't attacked them, everything would have been fine. This film is very tense. It's beautifully shot and the characters are interesting. It's a good psychological thriller, but I'm not sure there is a thematic message that holds up to scrutiny. Read the book and let me know.