Southern Comfort - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Southern Comfort Reviews

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July 26, 2016
Walter Hill is an extremely talented director of straightforward, no nonsense action films. "Southern Comfort" is a great example of this, if not really one of his best overall films. A group of Louisiana National Guard participating in weekend maneuvers run afoul of local Cajuns and are systematically hunted down. Somewhat inspired by "Deliverance", the film is a clear and direct metaphor for the Vietnam War. Perhaps a bit too clear and direct because it has very little to say beyond the surface of the metaphor. It's a wonderfully executed genre piece though with a superb cast that includes Keith Carradine, Powers Boothe, Fred Ward and Peter Coyote. Well worth a look and a good way to dip into Hill's output.
April 24, 2016
best movie to understand rednecks
April 19, 2016
Southern Comfort is Walter Hill's stripped down and brutal survival flick that, while perhaps not has streamlined and direct as his 1978 masterpiece The Warriors, is still an assured film with it's own strong aesthetic and identity, and in a way, feels almost like a deconstruction of The Warriors, sharing many of it's quasi-mythical archetypes and themes, albeit in a more cynical, brutal package.

Set in the damp, eerie Louisiana swaps and backwaters, Southern Comfort follows a small squad of National Guardsmen in 1973, who, while out on a rather mundane patrol (and perhaps hook up with some ladies while their at it), stumble across some canoes owned by a group of Cajun trappers. Acting out of selfishness, the squad takes three of the four canoes, much to the Cajun's ire. Things quickly escalte when the Cajuns begin to harass the troopers, until, in response to a trigger happy trooper's firing of blanks to scare the Cajuns away, the troops' squad leader (played by Peter Coyote), ends up dead, shot by the Cajuns. Now without their leader, the squad find themselves way over their heads, and the Cajuns dead set on hunting each and every one of them down.

This simple "Hunter Becomes Hunted" set up is directed with confidence by Hill, who uses the naturally eerie and alien terrain of the swampland to his advantage. His direction is stark and very matter of fact, observing the unit as the paranoia and lack of a true leader steadily causes the group to fall apart at the seams, with members being killed off one by one in a brutal domino effect. Often, the killings are brutal, yet lacking in gore. Instead, the sheer matter-of-factness of the deaths helps make them effective, and when coupled with Hill's trademark slow-motion photography enables the audience to soak in the impact and visceral power of a gunshot to the head.

The acting is strong throughout, with the ever badass Powers Boothe, and the ever cool Keith Carradine being the two most likable and level headed members of the squad. Boothe, as always, carries himself with a palpable sense of ominousness and power, his dark cynicism playing wonderfully off Carradine's casual self confidence. While nobody here is exactly a fine upstanding citizen (after all, the only reason they got into this mess is because they stole canoes for selfish reasons), Carradine and Boothe remain likable. The rest of the cast is good as well, filling their simplistic archetypes very well, and nobody's showboating.

Ry Cooder's score, a subtly creepy mix of bluesy guitar riffs and eerie percussion, is very effective at setting the mood, and it keeps itself understated and unobtrusive. It really helps give the film a lot of it's aesthetic and aura.

Now, it must be said that, in comparison to The Warriors, this film isn't quite as tight. The pacing is looser, and since the soldiers more or less got themselves into the situation, it can be a bit harder to find a person to root for. But, in a way, that's a strength for the film. Walter Hill himself stated he didn't want to the morality to be as clear cut as a film of this nature typically is, and one can easily see this film being a commentary on how people's arrogance and selfishness can lead to their own destruction. And since it's story is so stripped down, it carries almost a legendary, folktale like quality. It can easily be imagined in any number environments, with any number of kinds of protagonists, and work just as well.

All in all, it's an understated, yet effective film, and also one that is entertaining. It might not be the wild, over the top neo-noir of The Warriors, but it's still a film worth seeking out.

4 out of 5 stars.
½ March 19, 2016
A decent military movie with a special scenario..
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Super Reviewer
January 26, 2016
If not Walter's best, then certainly one of, and curiously not that well known/appreciated. Southern Comfort works on many levels; as a parable of American attitudes toward war in general, (with allusions to both the Vietnam and Civil War along the way), and as an exploration of the social, cultural and political crucible that threatens to boil over when you're least prepared. However you look at it there's much to be had in this very well crafted, insightful and provocative thriller about the latent paranoia and mistrust that seems to pervade American societies. The ending is an absolute classic.
January 6, 2016
Decent sweat-filled action movie where a bunch of National Guard troops are hunted DELIVERANCE-style through the swamps of Louisana. It's typical of that 70's talky and snarky US action film genre with solid direction from WALTER HILL. But it's sadly not *classic* enough to elevate it beyond cult status.
May 14, 2015
The idea was good but it was a bit cliche and over dramatic at times. Pretty forgettable film really.
½ March 31, 2015
Great action, suspense and acting. The way the conflict plays out reminded me of Deliverance, where you got a group of tough guys who overestimate their survival and combat skills and get themseves in all kinds of trouble by reacting to situations impulsively. It's very realistic because when danger is thrown at you suddenly like that very few people can instinctively turn into John Rambo. Powers Boothe was my favorite character. I also liked him in Red Dawn where he played a similar character.

The movie is very tense, especially the ending. I like all the confusion, like with the scene where they're hanging the dead pigs. If you watch the movie you'll know what I mean. They did a good job making the redneck town scary because you don't know if they're with us or against us. Are the men paranoid or did Tobe Hooper just take over as director?

The whole movie is obviously allegory for the Vietnam War. If that was truly their intention they did a great job. This is my favorite movie in the category of "war film that's not really a war film."
½ October 11, 2014
Metaphor of Vietnam War that is done well.
October 2, 2014
A movie that was overlooked when it came out but is every inch as good as the other more well know action adventures from the 80s.
September 2, 2014
All time favorite movie!!!!
½ July 1, 2014
I remember watching this movie more than once when I was a kid. I didn't know what exactly was going on (civil war?), but I surely enjoyed it, for I was a war freak then (and still is). Now that I've read the synopsis, yeah, I wanna see it again.
½ January 4, 2014
É pouco provável que outro filme, além de "Southern Comfort", represente tão bem aquilo que há de mais característico no cinema de Walter Hill: um carregadíssimo ambiente de tensão provocada pela fricção entre homens rijos muito decididos em impor a sua vontade. Quando não existem soluções fáceis para as situações dispostas na narrativa, Walter Hill também não as procura e deixa cair a razão nos homens para que eles possam resolver as coisas ao soco (tal como acontece muitas vezes no cinema e na vida real). "Southern Comfort" progride como um treino de guerra num circuito de obstáculos que só passa a sê-lo quando o desentendimento entre tropas leva a transgressões de propriedade e a alguns gestos de arrogância. Depois de quebradas regras básicas de cordialidade, "Southern Comfort" entrega os seus heróis a uma atmosfera hostil e bem mais animal (um quase fantástico pântano interminável do Louisiana), sem protege-los como noutros filmes americanos. Era um 4 estrelas se não surgisse depois de "Deliverance" e tivesse uma noção mais segura do que pretende para a conclusão.
December 24, 2013
The story may sound trivial and the dialogues a little silly, but this manages to create its unique atmosphere and to keep the stress at a fair level.
½ November 19, 2013
an offbeat action rama
November 11, 2013
A crafty thriller with some gory death scenes that could shoot any horror movie into the water. Like "Final Destination" with a coherent story, fabulous entertainment, a great piece of directing by Walter Hill.
November 8, 2013
Another action adventure from Walter Hill who is probably most famous for 'The Warriors'. Something of a cross between 'Deliverance' and a non sci fi 'Predator' its an interesting parable which struggles a little in pacing in the middle section.
½ October 23, 2013
it was a little bit strange but that's what made it somewhat entertaining for a small local war film
October 20, 2013
if you nick my boat, I would string you up too! A bit long for a simple story.
August 21, 2013
An old favourite..... and yes it is better than Deliverance.
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