As anyone reading this blog long enough will know, I’m a great fan of Walter Hill. And I grew up watching Southern Comfort over and over again on Betamax and then VHS. I have to say as a kid I had good taste.
The film follows the National Guard as they do some weekend manoeuvres in the Louisiana swamps. The group we follow are stock characters, and the film plays on these stereotypes very cleverly. Of course, it all kicks off with the local Cajun’s and blood soon spills.
Deliverance is a great film, on similar territory but I find this a much tighter and tougher film. It’s also more moodily shot, and the music by Ry Cooder features some great guitar work as well as some stunning Cajun ballads performed live.
So, what else is there to like? Well Powers Boothe is very good, Keith Carradine is great and it’s always a treat to have Fred Ward in a film. Hill keeps the action sharp, quick and this is the best location he’s ever had. Watch it as soon as you can and look out for Brion James as the Trapper, he’s a marvel.
So, 29 films to go…
Matthew Cooper has written for Emmerdale, Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs. He was winner of the first ever Lloyds Bank Channel Four Film Challenge and the Oscar Moore Screenplay Prize. His first short film starred a then unknown Ewan McGregor and was picked up by Channel Four when Matthew was 19 years old. He’s been a script writer for hire, filmmaker for hire and script consultant for over 20 years.