The Deer Hunter – Day Nine – #40movies40days
I cannot even begin to express how much I disliked this movie. Over-long scenes and self-indulgent direction by Michael Cimino made it excruciating to watch. An hour into the film we are still in a drunken wedding and reception that hasn’t move the characters or plot along in any significant way. It’s not surprising the endless Heaven’s Gate was such a fiasco two years later.
There is no character development. The group of friends in the film start out as loud, drunken, food-throwing louts with the maturity level of badly-behaved 13 year olds who constantly harass each other.
They endure a tragic and horrific time in Viet Nam. Then they come home to a feeling of dislocation, severe disability (amputation of both legs), addiction and barely suppressed anger. The film does deal with PTSD and maybe was shocking and revelatory for the time. But it just doesn’t hold up after 30+ years.
Strong performances by a very young Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and Meryl Streep are not enough to salvage the film. To tell you the truth I didn’t want to waste my time viewing it to the end. But I did.
What I took from the film is an appreciation of how beautiful Meryl Streep is and how genuine and natural she is in the small town girl role.