#205 / 365 – ‘The Deer Hunter’ (1978) – 182 mins
IMDb Challenge #122 / 250 – Ranked #135 – Via DVD Collection
When Michael (Robert De Niro), Steven (John Savage) and Nick (Christopher Walken) are captured by the Vietcong, they are forced to play Russian Roulette by their brutal captors, who make bets on their survival. The experience of capture leaves them with terrible physical and spiritual wounds, and when Michael returns to Saigon to fulfill an old promise to one of his friends, he makes an unexpected, horrific discovery.
To simply put it, some films are just too long, well certain parts are. The Deer Hunter is one of those films. It’s an excellent movie in many aspects but also an uneven one about ultimate friendship of three best friends during and after the Vietnam War.
The first hour is absolutely horrible and gives us what has to be one of the longest wedding scenes of all time, and depicts the trios lifes before they head out to war. I mean the act has some great characterization of the friends, but this examination just becomes too overdeveloped, resulting in the narrative being bloated. The second act, chronicles the story of the trio during Vietnam, and is brilliant in its brutal horror of the conflict. Then the third act deals with their return and how irrevocably damaged they have become by the experience.
The Deer Hunter would have been a better film, just for starters, if director Michael Cimino. had chopped the first hour down to thirty minutes, and had given some of this extra time to the final hour to portray a more evaluation of the characters as a result of the war, which is the most interesting and compelling
Despite this the film is brilliantly acted, especially Christopher Walken’s performance who is simply untouchable. It is spectacularly well made, and some scenes will stay with you a long, long time, namely the unnerving Russian roulette moment.