An epic movie about surviving!
I had purchased this DVD for my mom in order to replace a VHS copy. The Deer Hunter is one of the longer movies out there, with a running time of three hours.
The movie is one part look at life, one part showing the hell that is war and what it means to live after after the war, in this case Vietnam, is over. It's cast is a list of who's who in Hollywood, including Robert DeNiro, Meryl Streep, George Dzunda and Christopher Walken. The movie has been criticized as "anti-war" since it shows only the worst elements of post war life. However, I think an intelligent observer could look past that to the deeper meanings.
Consider the relationships in this movie. You have a group of friends working their jobs at a steel mill, then heading out for an after work beer enjoying each other's company. Later, they go to a wedding and we see a scene not unlike most wedding, celebration, people getting drunk and parting.
The group of friends heads into the mountains to shoot deer and have a conversation about what it really means to shoot an animal. It's quite analytical and makes you think.
From there, you're literally dropped into the Vietnam conflict, with these same friends serving as soldiers. There's a particularly emotional scene when, having been captured, the men are forced to play Russian roulette by their captors. They do manage to escape, but all three men are forever changed by what they went through. One is forever crippled, one returns home to be with the girl he always cared about and the third stays in Vietnam, playing Russian roulette as a way to make money.
I guess you could argue that Deer Hunter is ultimately a sad film, for the innocence these men lose or a happy movie for the ones who return home. I see it more as a comment on the human condition, the byplay of how life and people can dramatically change to someone we might not even recognize.
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