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A squad of National Guards on an isolated weekend exercise in the Louisiana swamp must fight for their lives when they anger local Cajuns by stealing their canoes. Without live ammunition and in a strange country, their experience begins to mirror the Vietnam experience. Written by
Keith Loh <email@example.com>
Now this is a atmospheric survival action film and Walter Hill at his peak. Love it! It's so simple (although streaming through it is a biting allegory about the Vietnam War), but nonetheless exhilarating, tense and raw film-making. Sure the acting and dialogues aren't master-class, but however they're commendably pulled off. In which case Powers Boothe (whose booming voice takes charge) and Keith Carradine (excellently pitched as the guy of reasoning) are terrific leads, and the support Fred Ward (a memorably hot-head and tooting turn), T.K Carter, Lewis Smith, Franklyn Seales, Peter Coyote and Brion James are also quite compelling. Tough, authentic and a real sense of claustrophobic tension stems from the actor's rapport and cynical script. This blends well with the brutal bloody violence (like the barnstorming climax with the powerful freeze frame closing) and the dank, devouring swamp terrain that ultimately swallows them up. But where I think it's at its most effective is during the interludes of Ry Cooder's fascinatingly folksy music score. Each time it creeps in, it demonstrates the right illustrations to the striking visuals and harrowing moods. Cooder's handling is multi-layered and truly echoing. From a relaxing southern flavour, to a haunting stillness and a punishing sting. It's cohesively perfect in it's random shifts. Hill's bravura direction holds up tautly, as the well-used slow motion is suitably done and the highly measured suspense piercingly infused. I liked how the hunters are kept as void-like background figures, because towards the end it makes the whole paranoid feeling and unease thrillingly justified.
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