And we're back after so many years...the time sure flies.
I watched it again tonight and made a few more observations.
Matthew is a Canadian army veteran (for some reason I assumed he was a US soldier living in Canada) and there is split second shot in his scrapbook of a newspaper headline on Canadian soldiers tortured by Japanese so can we assume some of his injuries came from that.
The medics patched him up--so perhaps this is more in keeping with the idea that he should have died?
Looking at it that way, the story is about rituals of closure for Harry about his abandonment of his father (he can learn from it and move on) and Matthew about his medical past (he can finally die--with the help of a medical man).
I like the analysis about moral ambiguity, though I also have been thinking about how this movie fits in with the general themes of the 70s.
On one hand it fits the theme of white male failure which was so common in the 70s--even found in Deliverance.
On the other hand though, you could say the ending is ultimately about redemption and victory. Harry had overcome his demons.
Harry comes out a better man. Reborn like the Yeats poem? And he takes the memory of Matthew with him in the medals.
If you consider several other horror films or backwoods thrillers, the ending is more positive than many.
There is another puzzle though.
Harry's conversation about flying under a bridge with a British captain out of drunken boredom.
He said it got him to quit drinking but I didn't get why it got him to quit.
He realized life was precious?
Or he came so close to dying that it jolted him into change--just as his backwoods experience had done?
Anyway, perhaps I shall return in a few years time.
Discuss films and filmmakers of the 20th century (and even a little of the 19th century). Threads may contain spoilers.