Thursday, March 1, 2007

The Deer Hunter (1978)

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There are great movies, and then there are the ones that change the way you look at other movies, society and the world. The Deer Hunter, simply put, is one of the most powerful movies, start-to-finish, of all time. It chronicles the story of a few small-town guys from rural Pennsylvania that are swept into the whirlwind that was the Vietnam War. Unlike other Vietnam movies which focus on the violence and corruption, The Deer Hunter illustrates the devastation a war imparts on not only an individual but an entire town. Clocking in at an epic three hours and two minutes, the film shows a group of guys' daily life from work, to a bachelor party, to a wedding and how it all changes when they go to and return from Vietnam. Robert Deniro plays the lead role of Michael and is in his prime as one of the greatest actors ever to appear on the screen. He is flawless as the staunch, but softspoken leader of the group. Christopher Walken turns in a performance most people from this generation have never seen from him, as Nick, a powerful supporting character and best friend of Michael. Meryl Streep, another legend of the big screen, is excellent as is the rest of the gang including John Savage and the late John Cazale. The Deer Hunter includes a few of the most memorable scenes I can remember, such as an emotionally rivetting game of Russian Roulette that showcases some of the most phenomenal acting I've ever witnessed. The acting is clearly top-notch throughout, but the directing is what sets the Deer Hunter apart from other films. There has never been such a vivid portrayal of the impact war has on a community. The characters in this film could be anyone; the kid next door, your best friend in high school, or even you. War changes the characters deeply, and parallels can easily be drawn to what war has done to communities in the present time. The conclusion is heartbreaking but extremely meaningful, and the three hour film will leave you exhausted. However, this is what good films are supposed to do; stimulate your deepest senses and pull at your heart strings.

Good For: people who like epic movies, fans of socially conscious films, Best Picture fans, Vietnam film fans

Bad For: people who can't enjoy long movies, people with no emotions

The Gallery
The Film Maker: * * * * *
The Writer * * * * *

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