April 14, 2010

# 132 The Deer Hunter (1978)

Russian roulette

I have recently watched The Deer Hunter, and to be completely honest, I wasn't expecting much from it. The movie is about a group of friends (Americans of Russian descent), and for the most part it shows us their lifes before and after they went to the Vietnam war. 

The story begins with one of the friends getting married. Despite the fact that none of the lead actors are ethnically Russian, I really liked the way a traditional Russian wedding was shown in the movie. Not that I'm a huge fan of Russian traditions, but the film is very good at depicting them. The cathedral and the choir looked authentic. According to IMDb the wedding scene took five days to film, and an actual priest was cast as a priest. After the wedding this loud company goes hunting, and then three of the friends go to war.

I really liked that it was not a typical war movie with all the war-type action. As a matter of fact only a short part of the story takes place in a POW camp. The rest of it focuses on the friends' lives after they escape from the camp. One of the friends loses his legs, another one loses his mind, and the third one tries to go back to living a normal life. So basically the movie shows different outcomes of the same story, and this outcome mostly depends on luck. Yes, luck plays a great role in this story, as well as in real life.

It was good to see Young Christopher Walken and Meryl Streep. De Niro looked so handsome in this film too. All of the actors did an excellent job. Russian roulette was surely among the best things about the movie. My verdict: The Deer Hunter is a must-see!

Favorite quote: "Why don't we go to bed? Can't we just comfort each other?" (sounded hilarious in the context of the movie).

Interesting fact: John Cazale, who also played Fredo Corleone in The Godfather, was very weak when filming began, and for this reason, his scenes were filmed first. Michael Cimino knew from the start that Cazale was dying from cancer, but the studio did not. When they found out, they wanted to replace Cazale. When Meryl Streep learned of their intentions, she threatened to quit if they did. Cazale died shortly after filming was completed. This was John Cazale's last film.

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