Southern Comfort 1981 ****


Writer and director Walter Hill specialised in terse, violent genre films; his 1981 film Southern Comfort is one of his best. A group of National Guardsmen in Louisiana circa 1973 fall foul of the native Cajun people, and a war of wits and attrition takes place on the hostile swamplands. Keith Carradine, Fred Ward and Powers Boothe are among the soldiers. Southern Comfort occupies a space halfway between Deliverance and Aliens; the sense of city folk out of their depth giving way to a full-on hunt, with the military training of the soldiers in contrast to the more primal methods of their pursuers. Most action films are brainless and unbelievable; Southern Comfort is smart and all too credible.


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