The Deer Hunter ★★★★★

If not quite the best Best Picture Oscar winner certainly the one that strikes me as being the most quintessentially American, for better or worse. The first hour is virtually perfect. The Vietnam sequence is obviously “problematic,” but it turns The Deer Hunter into an object that must be contended with. I mostly forgive the Russian Roulette metaphor for reasons of narrative expediency. Cimino shows remarkably little interest in depicting battle, condensing all of the horrors and moral confusion of the War into this one harrowing sequence. It’s a microcosmic point of view that is all the more defensible due to the tight scope used to observe the situation at home. This is not a film about geopolitical concerns. It is a film about human ones. The simultaneous beauty and brutality of America has only fitfully been captured by cinema as it has here.