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Critics reviews
Southern Comfort
Walter Hill United States, 1981
As the largely unseen locals begin picking off Americans one by one with increasing ferocity — sicking a pack of dogs on them, littering the swamp with bear traps, even orchestrating Indiana Jones-style wood-spike boobytraps — the action starts to feel more like a horror film than a war movie.
July 31, 2014
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Mr. Hill (who was also attacked for drafting the Cajuns into service as de facto Vietcong) was not making a critique of the war. Rather, he tried to dramatize how the war might have felt to those unprepared men who were sent into a quagmire and consumed by it.
July 03, 2014
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The violence arrives in quick, poetic bursts, but that poetry is morally contextualized by Hill’s command of pace and of flow, and by his heightening of the terrifying emptiness that precedes the carnage, particularly in the movement of the soldiers, whether they’re walking or floating down the river.
July 03, 2014
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Several of the Guardsmen are just as violent and tribal as the backwoodsmen they’re fighting. Stripping these characters to their essences, Hill identifies a shared culture of hatred that unites a range of Americans—much like the great Samuel Fuller did in his own brutal, artful, and defiantly weird action movies.
February 28, 2013
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Hill evens the stakes, slowly, subtly: First by introducing a wild-eyed trapper, played by the late, great Brion James, whom the soldiers take hostage. (Smarter than he looks, this one.) And then by climaxing his backwoods fantasia at a genuine Cajun shindig, the fiction blending seamlessly with the Flaherty-like verisimilitude of feasting, frolic and the knottiest, most troubling onscreen hog-slaying since Godard’s Weekend.
January 30, 2013
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