CLICK HERE and WATCH Today's FREE MOVIES!
In a small industrial town in the USA, Michael (Robert De Niro) and his circle of friends are called to fight in the Vietnam War. The war affects all of them psychologically and physically changing their relationships with each other forever.
WON 5 OSCARS Ė Actor in a Supporting Role (Walken), Editing, Sound, Director, Picture
CLICK HERE and watch 2009 MOVIES FOR FREE!
When people look at De Niroís portfolio of work they tend to favor his work with Scorsese and concentrate their attentions on his roles in Raging Bull and Taxi Driver as his best roles. Whilst this is completely justified I have always felt that his performance in The Deer Hunter is arguably his best work to date. From an acting point of view itís a non showy performance, Michael is a more subtle outsider than Travis Bickle and his emotional journey is portrayed much less by a physical state like Jake La Motta but more internally. Itís De Niro moving more along the lines of what Pacino was doing with Michael Corleone. Essentially showing a characterís inner conflict in his eyes, restraint without large external gestures.
Despite having De Niro in the cast, The Deer Hunter is a real actorís film due to the flawless ensemble cast of supporting players. Christopher Walken in a career-defining role actually won the Oscar for his supporting role as Nick, a man destroyed psychologically by the effects of war. Meryl Streep as Linda; one of her early roles that showed immediately what a magnificent talent she was and John Cazale as Stan still firing on all cylinders after Dog Day Afternoon. Like The Godfather, putting together an ensemble cast of such quality creates an interesting dynamic where the actors continuously have to up their game to keep in step with the talent around them.
Before duty we get to see De Niroís Michael in his true environment: hunting in the mountains. De Niro shows us how the hunt is like a ritual to Michael. When Stan forgets his boots and Michael refuses to lend him his spare pair we get a feel for how important the hunt is to Michael. Then when we see Michael actually on the hunt with his rifle aimed at a deer we can see that this is his vice. Out of all the men upon that mountain we know that it will be Michael whoíll bring home the kill! In fact, the deer kill is a wonderful silent performance by De Niro. Heís telling us things about Michael that couldnít be communicated words.
Perhaps the most memorable scene that people remember in The Deer Hunter is the horrific game of Russian roulette in the Vietcong hut. Itís a powerhouse of terrifyingly real emotions by the actors and relentless suspense. You canít even blink for fear of missing something! Like the drill sergeant training in Kubrickís Full Metal Jacket, we get a torturous insight into how war can destroy you from the inside just as much as the outside. We arenít just observers at this point, we feel intimately involved with the terror Nick and Michael are experiencing. Itís Michael who leads his friends (and us) through the hell inside the hut. Like in the hunt he assumes the role of leader; comforting the shivering Steven (John Savage) and itís he who loads the pistol with enough bullets to kill the Vietcong. De Niro is nothing short of breathtaking in this scene leaving you in no doubt that this portrayal is far superior to his Jake La Motta.
You can see traits of The Deer Hunter performance in De Niroís latter roles. If you look at his role as Nick McCauley in Heat (1995) he displays similar qualities as the leader of a group who all look up to him as the figure of authority. In Michael, De Niro is giving us a real war hero who might actually exist in our world; rather than a pumped up, fantasy incarnation like Stalloneís Rambo. The role of Michael contrasts quite nicely with De Niroís Travis Bickle who has just arrived back from the Vietnam War. Both are clearly affected by the experience of war but Michael arrives back with more positive aims for his life back home. Whereas Bickle remains outside of society looking at it with disgust, Michael wants to be a part of things as he actively pursues his relationship with Linda.
The Deer Hunter is a film that nobody should miss and is a must for anybody interested in screen acting.