monday monologue showcasing fine combos of actor & screenplay
halfway house (series premiere!) halfway through the day, we stop a movie 'bout halfway through... what do we see?
What to do with a dead body... what to do? That's always a (movie) question. Fifty-three minutes into the classic Deliverance (1972), the shit has hit the fan or, rather, the men have already squealed like pigs. Four increasingly unhinged friends are now freaking out over the fresh corpse in their midst. Drew (Ronny Cox) in particular wants to be done with their time in the woods and turn things over to the law. Burt Reynolds has the answer (as well as an unforgettable rubber vest but let's not get distracted) in arguably his greatest role.
You let me worry about that, Drew. You let me take care of that. You know what's going to be here, right here? A Lake! Far as you can see. Hundreds of feet deep. Hundreds of feet deep!
Did you ever look out over a lake? Think about something buried underneath it. Buried underneath it!
Man, that's about as buried as you can get.
It must have been tempting to film Burt's take-charge moment entirely in tight sweaty closeup. That's exactly what a modern filmmaker would do, beholden as they now all are to constant closeups and the TV-centric emphasis on the dead center of each frame, as if stardom can't be grasped if more than one person inhabits any frame. Thankfully, director John Boorman, his Oscar nominated editor Tom Priestley and the great cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond trust that alpha male star Burt Reynolds doesn't need any help in seizing the scene.
Instead we get a riveting creepy mix of longshots, closeups, and slow pans which never let's us forget any of the players, their specific relationships to one another ...and especially the unsettling constant presence of that intruding body, draped inelegantly across a tree branch.