Cimino's fascist film would make Riefenstahl and Griffith proud. The controversial roulette scenes and the depiction of the Vietnamese are the least of this films problem. For the first 2 hours, I was annoyed by its chauvinism which, at times, borders on homoerotic and the complete disregard of the females. Near the end, it almost began to criticize these traits but still couldn't stop sentimentalizing everything.
The performances man... the performances are just painfully raw and touching. We are yet to find this level of acting in contemporary cinema (except, perhaps, when Joaquin Phoenix is involved). The '70s not only stripped away convention that liberated filmmakers but ultimately transpired a sense of realism embraced by the performer who started to blur the line between fact and fiction.
Cimino, who would destroy Griffith's co-founded United Artists within two years, makes his version of BIRTH OF A NATION. Perpetuating visions of the U.S. in Vietnam it seeks to dismantle, it is nevertheless an audacious film of the American myth, albeit one of Fordian ambiguities, even outright contradictions. There are aspects of it I just can't bring myself to forgive, but I also can't deny it is monumental.
Only a genius would remember to use the russian roulette as a metaphor for war in the actual warzone. What some call inaccurate, I call the greatest dramatical depiction of war ever filmed; Through the roulette, Cimino reaches the highest level of war film realism in Cinema, maximizing the viewer's experience of the terror of the soldier's mind - that tenseful yet thin line of chance between life and death. Genius.
This is a fucking masterpiece. You cannot argue with that. Michael Cimino at his best is hard to fuck with. True art here. How can you ever imagine recreating such a great ensemble of highly talented cast...? This is a real piece of history... a timeless item of controversy... What performances, what cinematography, what writing (may I mention that was done, last minute, by Cimino?)... I could go on for days... Bravo
Intense, visceral, intimate, touching anti war picture. both Walken and De Niro achieve magnificent performances.
The russian roulette scenes are full of brutalilty, impotence and sadness, all displayed with overwhelming realism.
This is one of the most human films ever made about Vietnam. Michael Cimino creates an intimate epic here that shows the before, during, and after of the Vietnam War for this close knit group of steel workers. DeNiro and Walken are exceptional in this film and the ending is one of the most powerful. Also Vilmos Zsigmond really knew how to shoot epics.