The Deer Hunter was a very confusing watch for me; at times it was annoying, boring, and hard to follow, at others it was distressing, upsetting, and incredibly vulnerable.
It's perhaps the epitome of a slow burn film. There's so much that went in to that final scene, it's hard not to feel moved - how De Niro's Michael finally lets down his guard and shows his fear, begging Nick not to play. That moment of recognition followed by the shot is overwhelming and heart-breaking.
There are things here to criticise sure, but the build up to that moment makes it all feel worthwhile. There's plenty of good stuff as well, the guys singing along to "Can't Take My Eyes Off You", the hunting sequences and what they say about Michael, the scenes with Mike and Linda when he returns, and much more. Nevertheless, it's that final scene between Mike and Nick that will leaving the most lasting impression.