Best Picture Reviews: The Deer Hunter

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Well, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I don’t like war movies. I think we all know by this point that war is pretty senseless and stupid, and I’m not sure how many more movies have to be made before we stop war altogether. With that in mind, I’m okay with a war film if it finds a new way of looking at it. And this movie… doesn’t really, but it’s still kind of interesting to watch.

So the movie spends the first hour just with these guys, establishing character and relationships. And then there’s one scene of the war and then the rest of the movie is the guys recovering from it. I guess the movie is focusing on their home life so much because it’s trying to be about how the war has changed them. But if that’s the case, why even have the war scene at all? Why not have it take place entirely in their hometown? In fact, here’s an idea – why don’t you make a movie that’s told from the point of view of the girlfriend who stays home, and when the boyfriend comes back she slowly realizes things can’t be the way they were. You’re welcome, Hollywood!

But with that said, I just didn’t find the film that engaging. Which is a shame, because director Michael Cimino is clearly giving it his all. In fact, I can feel a lot of hard work going into this movie, from actors, screenwriters, and editors alike. Christopher Walken’s performance is pretty good, but I find it kinda weird that an actor who’s famous for being wild and crazy wins his Oscar for a pretty subdued performance.

Maybe I’m biased here, but I just wasn’t terribly invested in the story or the characters. I do understand why people like it, for sure. And I’m going to rate it higher than I probably would have because there’s nothing really bad about the film, It just didn’t do that much for me. But it is a good, solid film with plenty to offer. See it and decide for yourself.

****

By the way, am I the only one confused that there are people who actually want to be deer hunters? Haven’t any of them seen Bambi?

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