I really wasn't sure about Deliverance. I wasn't sure why I wanted to watch it again, and more importantly, I wasn't sure why I wanted to write about. There are two different things people remember from this movie, and that's "Dueling Banjos" and what happens down the river after you've heard "Dueling Banjos." Nobody really remembers that Burt Reynolds breaks his leg in grotesque fashion, or someone who is not Peter Fonda mysteriously falls out of the boat which leads to even more difficult choices for Jon Voight and the music factory.
I'm sure there will be a movie down the road where I can break down the coolness of Burt Reynolds' moustache, so why discuss him here in a movie where he didn't even have a moustachce. Instead, I'm going to break down the death of the hippie guy who very definitely was not Peter Fonda. I say hippie guy because a) he had an acoustic guitar and b) well, he looked A LOT like Peter Fonda, to the point they really probably wanted to cast Fonda, but he turned them down because he was scared of the river people. You can't even call them rednecks, because that's an insult to rednecks. It's incredible there's a group of people lower on the food chain than rednecks, but "river people" are definitely lower. I couldn't even eat my dinner while they were on the screen. They rank one spot higher than "circus freaks" on the list, and even still that's debatable. I could spend a night asleep in a room full of jockeys before I could spend 3 minutes engaging in conversation with a river person.
After the infamous incident which doesn't need to be discussed in this piece and the men resume going down the river, the guy who is not Peter Fonda just falls out of the boat. There are no rapids at this point, it doesn't look like he's on drugs or drunk, and you very positively don't see him get shot. Burt Reynolds is quick to point out that he was shot though, but without a moustache, why would anyone trust Burt Reynolds? I watched the scene over and over to see if you could hear a gun shot and you can't. This is what I call bad directing. I understand Mr. Hot Shot Director Guy was trying to make it ambiguous as to the cause, but this just isn't fair. Judging by how the movie was filmed, the only possible outcome is suicide.
I watched this thing like the Zapruder film. The men are paddling, then all of a sudden the man who was not Peter Fonda just pauses, gives a blank stare, and falls off the boat. That's all the director allows us to see, which then leads you to only two options, suicide, or maybe the man who was not Peter Fonda just wanted to get out of the situation, faking suicide to swim to shore and find his own way out. Seeing Deliverance 2 is still in production, I guess we'll just have to wait and see if he makes a return. Until then, the "tension" in this movie is based off an incorrect conclusion by some city boys going down a river, or it's based on a poor directing, yet somehow, someway, it's still a classic. Go figure.