Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune are the stars of Hell in the Pacific, and there’s nobody else in the movie — just this American soldier and this Japanese soldier stranded on a Pacific island during the Second World War, and neither speaking a word of the other’s language.
I suspect that James Dickey, who adapted his best-selling novel Deliverance for the screen, and John Boorman, who directed it, are trying to tell us something fairly important by subjecting four sober, settled, middle-class gentlemen in their thirties to a series of wilderness trials that test their courage and cunning in a manner we usually associate with the initiation of adolescents into primitive tribes.
Deliverance, which James Dickey adapted from his own best-selling novel, is one of those rare films that resonates like a literary work but that —rarer still—avoids either being or sounding literary.
Boorman doesn't bother with episodes that don't stir him; there’s no dull connective tissue. The film is like Flaubert’s more exotic fantasies—one lush, enraptured scene after another.
John Boorman’s cult film Deliverance is a rape-revenge movie with a difference. Its haunting power lies in what it tries not to show. by Linda Ruth Williams