Online Hair Booking

Sunday, September 22, 2013

'The Deer Hunter'

One of my all time favourite films.

It's a sad reminder that Hollywood used to make these great films with incredible all star casts, but not any more.
Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Savage, John Cazale, Meryl Streep......

Although it's often described as "Vietnam War film", I have some misgivings about that.
Whether Russian roulette scene actually took place or not, the depiction of Vietcong as evil, improbable encounter of three guys in Vietnam, miraculous escape from their captivity, the lengthy wedding scene.....
These criticisms that have been directed against the film may have some validity, but, for me, they're not the point.

The criminality of US foreign policy in Vietnam during Johnson and Nixon presidency is by now well established.

The whole point of this film, for me, is what war (not just Vietnam) can do to ordinary people.
Mental and physical damage, suffering, misery, destruction, devastation.....
And the film does a superb job for that with fantastic production design, actors and music.
That's why I think this film has a lasting importance among many other so-called war films.

The wedding scene is very long, but, absolutely necessary as a prologue to the second and third act of the film, especially the encounter with a Vietnam veteran in a bar, and a stain of wine on bride's dress. They're ominous metaphors for what will come next.
Whole point of this is to describe the innocence of these working-class people in a rather rusty town in America.
And the segue from Chopin's piano in a bar to thunderous noise in war zone is truly genius.

The performance of three guys in captivity was legendary.
I don't think many actors can do that facial expressions holding a gun on their heads as brilliantly as they did. Human existence reduced to sheer animal panic.

In final act, De Niro wasn't able to shoot deer with "one shot" in a mountain when he returned.
He is a different man now.
But, Christopher Walken, psychologically destroyed, was able to shoot himself with "one shot" in Saigon.
He too, was a different man.

After the funeral, everyone got together in a bar, singing "God Bless America".

It's just brilliant.

No comments: