Deliverance is one of those American movies so iconic that its central images have trumped the film itself. More than "The Graduate", we remember Benjamin riding along the escalator, or trapped beneath his pool. More than "Citizen Kane", we remember ’rosebud’. More than "Pulp Fiction", we remember Royales with Cheese. And more than "Deliverance", we remember banjo strummin’ and squealing like a pig. It’s a damn shame; because the film itself may very well be a masterpiece.
Stranding some "weekend warriors" out in a hellish Southern nightmare of inbreds and sodomites, the film has caught a lot of flack from both homosexual and southern audiences who claim it demonizes them. But these characters aren’t extensions of social groups, they’re simply monsters out to prove to our characters just how little they actually know of the world - they’re the danger of the unknown, not the danger of the gay and Confederate. And the fact that it’s movie stars like Burt Reynolds and Ned Beatty getting stranded, assaulted, and humiliated only brings the "you shouldn’t step out of your boundaries" theme closer to the forefront; by forcing the audience to empathize with our already-flawed heroes.
It’s a grim tale, but a timeless and unexplainably iconic one. Warner Brothers is rereleasing the film on Blu-ray, this time in Blu-ray Book format - the disc is accompanied by a well-researched collection of photos, essays, and recollections from the set. There’s an audio commentary and some featurettes, but be forewarned: those who own the previous Blu-ray release will see all those extras replicated here, with the only new one being a "The Cast Remembers" short. Still, this camping-film-cum-nightmare is a must for anyone whose heard it’s iconic banjo strums, and are ready to experience the film itself for once.