138 - The Deer Hunter (1978)

Three best friends who head into Vietnam together come out with very different lives.

When Steve (John Savage) gets married, he turns his wedding into a double celebration, marking the day when he and two of his best hunting friends, Nick (Christopher Walken) and Michael (Robert de Niro) go to Vietnam to join the war.

While out there they experience the brutality of the events, with all three of them finishing the war with very different outlooks on life.

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
The most noticeable concept of The Deer Hunter is that it is split into three defining parts - in effect, the beginning, middle and end.

The beginning is by far the most peaceful, it shows the lives of the men before they head out to war but it does not shy away from one form of violence as Michael kills a deer with a single shot. The second part is the most brutal; the men are sent right into the heart of the battle, with seemingly little training and being subjected to playing Russian roulette which is certainly a horrific mental and physical torture. Finally, their perspectives change as they leave the war behind.

The Deer Hunter lacks in the beginning. The wedding sequence was just a case of dance, sparse conversation and a bit more dance which seemed to drag on for an eternity. Happily, the middle perked up interest again, but at that point, I completely lost interest in anything else the film had to offer.

I can understand The Deer Hunter as being a very true-to-life scenario, especially in the way that it changes not just those that go to war but also those around them too. The standout performances come from De Niro and Walken who give outstanding performance in conveying this throughout.

Some truly outstanding moments mixed with some truly boring ones.