The Deer Hunter (1978)

The Deer Hunter (1978)

Directed by: Michael Cimino

Starring: Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Cazale

I had heard of The Deer Hunter from film friends before, but other than the fact that it won some Oscars and had De Niro in it, I didn’t know anything about it. I certainly didn’t know that it was a rambling three-hour long testament to a director going insane and having way too much control over a poorly-thought-out story.

Three steel worker friends join the army and go over to Vietnam. They’re captured by the Viet Cong and forced to play Russian Roulette for their sadistic captors’ amusement. They escape and two of them get back to America, thinking the third was dead. As it turns out, he was still in Nam and had become a professional Russian Roulette player.

There are two good scenes in this film and it’s three hours long, the first hour of which is just an elaborate wedding sequence which could’ve easily been summed up in 15 minutes. De Niro’s okay in the film, as is Walken, but it’s not even close to the top for either of them. In fact, none of the characters in the film feel like real people at all, constantly doing purposeless things and interacting with each other as if none of the events in the film so far had happened, or if completely different things had. It’s a mess of a movie and I couldn’t possibly tell you why it’s one of those well-known “must see” movies.

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