Watch Southern Comfort
- 1 hr 45 min
In 1981, director Walter Hill released a tense thriller called Southern Comfort, starring Keith Carradine, Powers Boothe, and Fred Ward. The movie, set in a vast and untamed Louisiana swamp, tells the story of a group of National Guardsmen who find themselves in a fight for survival against a band of local Cajuns. The film begins as a unit of nine National Guardsmen are dropped off in the Louisiana bayou for a weekend training exercise. The group is made up of a mix of characters, including the green and nervous Private Spencer (played by Carradine), the grizzled and experienced Sergeant Poole (Boothe), and the outspoken and troublemaking Private Stuckey (Ward). The Guardsmen are given a simple mission: to canoe down a river and perform a mock ambush on a group of imaginary enemy soldiers.
However, things quickly go wrong when the Guardsmen encounter a group of angry and heavily armed Cajuns, who take offense to the Guardsmen's presence on their land. The Cajuns, who are fiercely protective of their way of life, see the Guardsmen as an invasion and quickly begin to hunt them down. With no communication with the outside world and little experience in the terrain, the Guardsmen are left to fend for themselves against a much larger and more experienced enemy.
Southern Comfort is a tense and atmospheric movie, with a constantly increasing sense of danger and suspense. The swamp, with its murky waters and tangled foliage, is a character in itself, and the movie makes great use of the location's natural beauty and inherent creepiness. The movie's soundtrack, which features eerie, haunting music by Ry Cooder, adds to the film's sense of unease.
One of the great strengths of Southern Comfort is its ensemble cast, who bring a wide range of personalities and experiences to the role of the National Guardsmen. All of the actors give great performances, but it's Keith Carradine who stands out as the film's emotional center. As the naive and inexperienced Private Spencer, Carradine perfectly captures the fear and confusion of a man thrown into a life-or-death situation he never expected.
Powers Boothe is also excellent as Sergeant Poole, a man with a deep sense of duty and a lifetime of experience in the military. The movie suggests that Poole may be the only person in the group who could possibly lead them to safety, but his stubbornness and pride get in the way of his good sense. Fred Ward, meanwhile, provides some much-needed comic relief as the wisecracking Private Stuckey, who uses humor to mask his own fear and uncertainty.
At its heart, Southern Comfort is a movie about the clash between different cultures and ways of life. The National Guardsmen represent the modern, organized military, with their rules and regulations and strict hierarchy. The Cajuns, by contrast, are a throwback to an earlier time, living off the land and fiercely independent. The movie suggests that these two worlds are incompatible and that conflict is inevitable when they meet.
Southern Comfort's themes of culture clash and survival in the face of overwhelming odds are timeless and universal, and the movie remains a tense and thrilling experience nearly 40 years after its release. With its great performances, evocative setting, and haunting soundtrack, Southern Comfort is a classic of the survival genre and a must-see movie for anyone who loves a good adventure story.
Southern Comfort is a 1981 action movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 45 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.1 and a MetaScore of 63.