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Southern Comfort - The Ex-Communicator

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January 4th, 2009

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03:04 pm - Southern Comfort
"Well, you know how it is, down here in Louisiana. We don't carry guns: we carry ropes, RC colas and moon pies. We're not too smart, but we have a Real Good Time."

I went to bed fairly early, woke up, realised H was still up, and wandered down to see what was going on. He was watching Southern Comfort, one of my top ten films, so I had to stay up til 2am to watch it with him. It's one of those films like Get Carter and Alien that seem (to me) to be perfect: the whole thing hangs together perfectly, all the dialogue, all the scenes unfold as if they have to occur. I just love it. Rewatching it you see again how many other films have been influenced by it. For instance I really noticed this time how the shoot-out at the Victory Motel at the end of LA Confidential reflects the final fight in this film. I also think (people might think me mad to say it) that the ewoks in Return of the Jedi use the same methods to despatch the imperial forces that the cajuns in this film use to destroy the Louisiana National Guard. The parallels with later Vietnam films are too obvious to mention, and of course Blair Witch Project is a direct copy.

In about 1980, when I was at University, a Film Studies student told me 'Modern American Film is easy: if it happens indoors it's an allegory of Watergate; if it happens outdoors it's an allegory of Vietnam'. I think the films to come about the Iraq war are going to have to be allegoric. I think they will be more damning than the straight films about the subject. Not sure why.

The film is much funnier than you might think - it's a dark comedy really, and very dry, because a lot of the jokes are just the brainy guy - Keith Carradine - looking almost expressionless as one of his companions does or says something utterly stupid. You can almost see what's going through his mind, and yet almost none of it shows in his face. His developing friendship with Powers Boothe is brilliantly portrayed, again with virtually no expression by face or word.

I just looked for lj groups which discuss Southern Comfort. There aren't any, but I see it is listed as an exemplar by various groups discussing LGBT films. It's interesting it has that reputation. For me it draws with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as the best film about friendship between two men. I particularly like the way it shows camaraderie between two intelligent people - they aren't good people and they don't have the same temperament, but they simply see the world more clearly than anyone else. Also Carradine has never looked more lovely, which helps.

In short - what a great film, if you like almost everyone getting killed. Dear Hollywood, please never remake this film.

(4 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:January 5th, 2009 04:11 pm (UTC)
Huh - I never saw this movie, so now it will have to go on the list.

I see, however, that it was directed by Walter Hill. He did Streets of Fire, which is one of my fave fun films.

Are you going to Redemption ? I haven't done a thing about it yet - need to get myself organised.
[User Picture]
Date:January 5th, 2009 04:50 pm (UTC)
It's very much a typical Walter Hill film, but at his best level. To me he's like John Carpenter - loads of ability, frequently shot to hell.

I am going to Redemption. I can't remember if I've booked a room yet. You'll get told off if you don't move quick.
Date:January 7th, 2009 02:28 am (UTC)

Secret channel to Communicator




[User Picture]
Date:January 7th, 2009 10:04 am (UTC)

Re: Secret channel to Communicator

Is this girlfriend trouble? That's not easy for anyone. I don't think there's any good way through that kind of thing, except keep coming to work, don't close yourself away. I hope you aren't poorly.

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