Monday, August 16, 2010

Review – The Deer Hunter

Wow, what a disappointing movie. In its original release it must have helped America come to grips with the toll taken by the Vietnam War on the men sent to fight it. Director Michael Cimino consciously surfs the Altman-mumbly-actor-realism wave, which was more important then than it is now. This approach proves to be the primary failing of the picture. The story doesn’t move to Vietnam – and the legendary Russian roulette scenes – until an hour in, so everyone has at least 60 minutes to establish sympathetic or at least coherent characters. We get the bare bones of these steel-town Pennsylvania mooks (one guy’s getting married, another has a crush on a buddy’s girlfriend, and so on), but the attempt to make them “real real” rather than “movie real” succeeds only in making them stiff, distant and difficult to care about. The production is also plagued by preachiness, with plot developments so ham-handed that Cimino might as well have flashed a “look, I’m making a point” card onscreen just to make extra sure nobody missed it. Though I didn’t care for the director’s truly legendary flop, I thought it was superior to this critically-acclaimed dog. See if desperate

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