Apr 22, 2011

The Deer Hunter (1978) - don't hate the player, hate the game

directed by Michael Cimino / starring Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep

The Deer Hunter is part 4/12 of my resolution for 2011.

I expected April to be one of the easier months on my little mission, but I still didn't feel too confident about actually LIKING The Deer Hunter very much, as I wasn't sure whether the plot would mostly just circle around the war itself, or be more character-driven. Good for me, the film turned out to be hardly at all about the Vietnam war. Much more than that, it was about the few characters, and how their lifes were affected by the war.

So, yes! I liked The Deer Hunter! It's a bit silly to think, afterwards, how ridiculously long time I kept avoiding the film, not finding the right mood to watch it, because I though it would be either much more artsy or much more difficult to get inside of. And look how easy wacthing it ended up being! I think I might've liked it most out of the four films I've seen due to my resolution so far. I mean, it's a bit difficult to compare this to the other-worldly experience that watching Space Odyssey was, but with Deer Hunter I even feel that I want to see it again sometime in the near-future. So, go April! I have a sneaky, menacing feeling that May won't be this delightful, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Oh no. Look at me now, I sound far too cheery. The film I just saw was not 'feel-good', so I'll cut down with the cheeriness from here on.

Until now I've somehow managed to avoid basically all of Robert De Niro's work, I mean the work that made him the legendary actor he is today. Now I'm a bit more educated on the field, and after I'll see Goodfellas in October and somehow magically find the will to watch Taxi Driver, I can maybe agree that he is one hell of an actor, without feeling like a fraud. I mean, sure, I can tell that he's pretty good just by his 30-second appearance in Extras. Haha. Okay, okay, I'll see Taxi Driver. (One of these days.)

Meryl Streep, then! She could do a cat food commercial, and I'd still find her splendid. I just love that woman! And who wouldn't. Though, I'm still yet to see about a million of her earlier films, it's a travesty, really! A change will come, this I hereby promise.

For me, the star of the film was Christopher Walken. (I'm starting to feel more and more inadequate and stupid, but I have to admit I hadn't previously seen Walken in anything as a young man; I knew only the old Walken, and had no idea he was once so good-looking. Wasn't he? I mean, not tradionally, but in that odd, hard-to-put-your-finger-on-it kind of way. Right? He looked a bit like Barry Pepper, didn't he?) He is chillingly good, and I wasn't surprised to afterwards notice that it was indeed he who got the Oscar out of it. (I was sure at least one of the three did.) The way he acted the dramatic and tragic development of his character was just... wow. At times I so would've felt like hugging he poor guy, if only he hadn't looked so freaking creepy. And yet, you have to symphatise him, because you know it's not his fault, it's the effing war that messes him up. (That had to be pointed out just to justify using that 'witty' title. Eh... Sorry.)

Okay. Fail. This post ended up sounding much too cheerful. I don't really feel this cheerful. Seriously, now, The Deer Hunter was pretty terrific; it affected me a lot, I became very engaged to the story and began to care about the characters very early on. Watching a film has rarely felt so tormenting as it did during some of the scenes - I think you know which ones I mean. I actually hid behind my hands a couple of times and shut my ears, and I'm pretty sure my pulse was close to reaching 200 at some point. Now that I think about it, The Deer Hunter might just be the best war film I've ever seen. (Maybe because it actually isn't about war? Haha. Anyway. It still counts!)

"You wanna play games? All right, I'll play your fucking games."

1 comment:

Carsey Jones said...

I don't know how someone can be a film buff or reviewer and not seen Taxi Driver or Goodfellas.