The Deer Hunter

The Deer Hunter

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Funny that 3 of Michael Cimino’s 7 films have protagonists named Michael, and 3 of those other ones have real people as protagonists. That name haunted this viewing for me, a viewing that more clearly than ever revealed to me what a thorny, unlikable protagonist this film has. Interactions like Michael getting called a control freak and then two seconds later leaving the conversation he’s in the middle of just to open a trunk his friend is trying to open, or staying in a motel to avoid his “friends” celebration for his return, or his suggestion to Nick that they leave Steve behind in Vietnam, or the extent of his advances towards his best friends girlfriend, etc. have a potency to me now that they didn’t before, and paint a painfully vulnerable picture of a person, perhaps the person that made this very film!

The Deer Hunter is obviously an amazing, freewheeling, compassionate and vividly true to life movie, but these days I think special mention needs to go to its finale, which I now think is one of the best in cinema history. Its stubborn refusal to make a definitive or easy statement of itself is what makes it work; its seamless portrayal of communal empathy and pain in a manner so spontaneous that it truly comes alive is what makes it one of a kind.

WyattW liked this review