A squad of National Guards on an isolated weekend exercise in the Louisiana swamp must fight for their lives when they anger local Cajuns by stealing their canoes. Without live ammunition and in a strange country, their experience begins to mirror the Vietnam experience.
A movie whose message resonates as strongly today as it did thirty years ago: that no one should ever, and I mean EVER, not one single person under any circumstances ever, fuck with the Cajuns.
Walter Hill's Southern Comfort is another of those films that critic Manny Farber might have called "termite art," the kind of movie that emphatically burrows beneath pretension. It's a tough cookie, this one, a don't-call-it-a-Vietnam parable about a cadre of National Guardsmen who run afoul of a bunch of Southern Louisiana's native sons after stealing their canoes during a training exercise. An innocent enough mistake, right? But soon the plot kicks into full adventure/survival mode, as the Guardsmen (among them Keith Carradine, Powers Boothe, and…
For a while now I’ve been meaning to pick up the Walter Hill DVD box set as It’s far too long since I’ve watched several of his films, and one of those that has been high up my list for a re-watch was Southern Comfort, so it was great to see a showing of it pop up on BBC 2 over the weekend.
According to some interviews I’ve seen with Hill, the film is not a metaphor for the Vietnam War, but it’s very easy to see why this accusation is made as it bears many of the hallmarks of a ‘nam film: a small squad of soldiers (in this case members of the Louisiana National Guard) find themselves being…
Southern Comfort is better than Deliverance. Discuss.
I thought I would get that out of the way before I continued because, from what I've seen, it is the law that you have to mention Deliverance in all reviews of Southern Comfort. I don't even know the answer to my own question because I've only seen Deliverance once, about 15 years ago, so I'm probably not really in a fair place to judge.
So, taken on its own merits, Southern Comfort is perhaps one of the stranger action adventures that you will happen across in some ways. It plays out like a Vietnam war film taking place in the States, substituting the Viet-Cong with some irate Cajuns, and with a finale…
They don't make 'em like this anymore. Action filmmakers just don't have the patience or wherewithal to play it more low key, grounded with a firm backbone. Just look at every major action film released this year. The ADD generation SUUUUCKS.
Spencer: "Why d'ya paint the cross on your chest?"
Coach: "It's part of the joke"
Spencer: "What joke?"
Coach: "It's a Corporal joke, Private"
BBC2 treated us to an all too rare screening of this classic, a survival film, which has always been overshadowed by the inferior Deliverance in my opinion.
The 70s really was a golden age of uncompromising film making from Hollywood, and Southern Comfort is perhaps that era's last gasp, before the style over substance aesthetic of the Simpson and Bruckheimer 80s. It's a simple premise on the surface; a deeply unsettling and murderous game of cat and mouse plays out between some indigenous Cajun settlers and a small unit of National Guard, who have foolishly taken…
Walter Hill’s 80’s Vietnam parable is arguably his greatest achievement. It’s a tough, uncompromising film, unapologetically macho. It has steely men's men types playing the majority of the nine members of the Louisiana National Guard lost and under attack in the harsh terrain of the swamps of the Louisiana Bayou. The parallels with Vietnam are not hard to see. Although the guards aren't in a war situation, but a training exercise, the idea of American soldiers behind enemy lines, in a terrain they cannot adjust too, under attack from an enemy they don't understand makes the metaphor an easy one to see, even if Hill claims this wasn't on his mind during production.
It's influence can be seen from the…
I picked this up on Laserdisc today for $1. Never saw it before. An excellent film from writer/director, Walter Hill. The film is definitely comparable to DELIVERANCE, and rightly so. Even the film's poster read, "Not since 'Deliverance...' SOUTHERN COMFORT almost feels like a combination of DELIVERANCE and FULL METAL JACKET, but set in the Louisiana bayou.
Great performances all around, especially from Powers Boothe and Keith Carradine. The film has all of the great action of a Walter Hill picture, including a harrowing scene of attacking Rottweilers. There's not a whole lot of violence in the film, but when it shows up it's brutal..
I was going to give the film three and a half stars, but the end of the movie in the Cajun village is so great that I pushed it to four stars. This was the second film Hill shot in Louisiana, the first being HARD TIMES; another excellent film.
Very solid thriller. Doesn't waste much time, throwing the cast straight into the Louisiana swamp, as soon as the credits are over the characters have all been introduced and not long after they've got themselves in the shit. It moves very quickly and plays out, bizarrely, like a slasher film... except it is war-ish thriller, instead of a horror.
The finale is intense and features some of Hill's best direction. I also loved the cast, whom are all very much under appreciated actors that have never been given their dues. The score by Ry Cooder is fantastic as well, perfectly suiting the mood of the film.
It is short and thrilling, definitely recommend it even if it doesn't hit all its marks.
This was one of the movies I saw when I was very young and it left quite an impact on me. It was therefore with some hesitance that I decided to re-watch this hoping that it would still be as powerful as I thought it was, and oh boy was it!
Keith Carradine and Power Boothe shine in this National Guard military exercise going wrong, badly wrong.
A small platoon of weekend warriors participate in an exercise but manage to get hopelessly lost in the Louisiana swamps and made another ill-fated decision to steal some Cajun canoes. Carrying only blanks for their weapons one of them decide to have some fun and fire upon some of the locals who are looking for their canoes. The result of that decision is a brutal man-hunt through the swamps.
The morale of the story boys and girls is to never ever piss off the locals...
Builds tension perfectly and never lets up once it gets going. A great score by Ry Cooder as well. And Powers Boothe is pretty damn awesome.
On a weekend drill in the Louisiana bayou, a group of National Guardsman provoke the local Cajuns and find themselves at war with them. Good atmospheric film about outsiders interfering where they are not welcome.
A group of truly incompetent and poorly disciplined Louisiana national guardsmen make the mistake of picking a fight with some local Cajuns who take them out one by one in a variety of gruesome killings.
This Walter Hill hicksploitation movie improves as the more annoying soldiers are killed off leaving us with a great climactic scene set in a small village where we are treated to some wonderful Cajun music.
The film is saved by some beautiful cinematography and the two lead actors Carradine and Booth who make up for an occasionally ropey screenplay. I enjoyed the film despite finding the decisions made by some of the squadron very difficult to understand and some unintentionally hilarious scenes of silly behaviour.
Being a huge fan of Walter Hill, I can't believe I had never watched this film. A little bit disjointed, but still very enjoyable.
Not as wonderful as I had remembered it, but the ending still winds up the tension like nothing else. Second time out, the set-up and thinning of the herd is a bit more mechanical and leaden-footed, possibly because you know the good stuff is at the end, and you get a little impatient. Could have done without the coach who goes crazy - after a while, a man walking around tied up like he was a cartoon breaks the suspense.
A primer on US foreign policy post-WWII and why we haven't exactly won a war since. Beyond the obvious things illustrated (of which there are many), the glaring thing that strikes me is how, like America, we assume who we square off against is a mirror image of us. We pick fights with people we don't understand (but assume we do, because we assume the entire world operates just like us) and get bled out because of it. These idiotic weekend warriors pick a fight with enemies that remain faceless (you can substitute the film's Cajuns with the Vietnamese, Afghanis, Sudanese, etc.) . It isn't until they have a face that they can be (are) defeated. This would be a good lesson for the US going forward, the rest of the world is full of people that are entirely different than you. Get to know them before you decide to (wrongly) impose your will on them.