The Deer Hunter
The Deer Hunter (1978) – Originally written August 2003
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film is amazing. I mean, yeah ok I admit that some peoples points about it dragging are true. Also, it does seem very one sided and doesn’t take account of the fact that the Americans did some awful things in Vietnam too. However, the film surely shows just what a war film should. It shows a group of friends (all brilliantly acted by De Niro, Walken & Savage) who go to war & find themselves in a game of russian roulette. A lot of war films always seem to have groups going to war, but the vast majority returning relatively unharmed. It’s good to see a film where out of the three friends, one is dead & one is quite literally only half of his former self. I don’t mean this in a morbid way, but that is the way war often ends up for a lot of people. Yes theres the occasional hero, but for every hero, many thousands suffer. This film takes account of this and shows how the friends all suffer mentally and physically. Combine this with a naive group of people back home and you’re left with one hell of a war film.
Someone compared this film to Apocalypse Now in a previous summary, and claimed that AN was better, I’m sorry, but how can they possibly say that? Both films do present Vietnam as a hell hole full of death and naive troops with no idea what they’re due to encounter, but whilst the Deer Hunter talks of these troops returns, Apocalypse Now just seems to go off on one at the end and looses a lot of it’s credibility (in my view anyway). In a way it’s ironic how many films about war end badly when the topic itself tends to have quite a blatant full stop at the end. The Deer Hunter makes a worthy candidate for best Vietnam film of all time though & was a worthy winner of the years Oscar for Best Picture.