Blind Spot Series: The Deer Hunter
The movie Gods must be on my side, because right after I posted my list for Ryan McNeil's 2014 Blind Spot Series, the Sundance channel aired The Deer Hunter. How convenient.
What I knew going in: 1) The fate of Christopher Walken's character. I didn't know when or where, but I knew it happened. 2) That Russian Roulette is the big theme.
The Deer Hunter follows 3 men, Michael, (Robert DeNiro) Steve (John Savage) and Nick (Christopher Walken) who are about to leave for a tour in Vietnam. We spend the first hour of the film together getting to know these men and seeing Steve's wedding to Angela. (Rutanya Alda) We also meet various other people. Nick's girlfriend Linda, (Meryl Streep) whom Michael also seems to have feelings for. There's also their other friends/hunting buddies Stan and John (John Cazale, who was dying of cancer while filming this, so his frail frame was very upsetting and George Dzundza) The 2nd hour of the film has them being captured in Vietnam and forced to play Russian Roulette, and their eventual escape. The 3rd hour is the aftermath.
Yes, I divided this film into thirds, much like I did with The Place Beyond The Pines and 2005's King Kong. They all felt distinctly different. The first hour, while I felt was necessary to get to know these characters was too long. I think they could've condensed it a little more. The wedding scene alone clocks in over a half an hour. At the same time, I enjoyed watching these guys dance and have fun knowing what they were in for. So I really can't tell you what exactly it is that I would cut out.
The performances are fascinating, especially Walken. I could not take my eyes off of him. DeNiro is tasked with carrying the weight of the film, but it's Walken who I wanted to see. The score is nearly as intense as the film itself. And that finale scene? So, so heartbreaking. In fact, I was so into this film at one point, that a commercial for The Lost Boys played immediately after, and it took me a few seconds to realize that I wasn't watching the same movie. I was really in the zone, apparently.
Memorable Quote: "Just promise me you won't leave me behind there." - Nick (Christopher Walken)