Meryl Streep Month #3: The Deer Hunter, Evil Angels

The Deer Hunter

The Deer Hunter, released in 1978, is one of the most famous movies about the Vietnam War. It tells the saga of three American steelworkers as they prepare to go overseas to fight in the war and continues their story in Vietnam.

The Deer Hunter stars Robert DeNiro, Christopher Walken, John Cazale, John Savage, George Dzundza, and Meryl Streep in one of her first film roles. It was directed by Michael Cimino, who won the Oscar for Best Director. The film also won four other Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
The movie starts in western Pennsylvania, where Mike (DeNiro), Nick (Walken), and Steven (Savage) are preparing for Steven’s wedding. Mike has a crush on Linda (Streep), who is Nick’s girlfriend. Mike is also the deer hunter who inspires the film’s title. Hunting becomes a motif throughout the film.

The middle part of The Deer Hunter is set in Vietnam. Our three main characters are captured by the enemy and play a very famous game of Russian roulette, among other things. I won’t divulge any more about their adventures overseas, but let’s just say the action gets very intense and violent.

The final act of the film returns the story to the States and touches on the aftereffects of the war on those who fight it. Do all three men make it home? You’ll have to watch the movie to see.

The Deer Hunter is much more than a standard war movie, partly because it shows the main characters before, during, and after the war. It is an epic in many ways, including its three-hour running time. It’s interesting to see stars such as DeNiro, Walken, and Streep early in their acting careers.

A Cry in the Dark (aka Evil Angels)

A Cry in the Dark is a 1988 film starring Meryl Streep as Lindy Chamberlain, an Australian woman who is put on trial for killing her baby daughter while on a family camping trip in the Outback. Chamberlain claims the girl was killed by a dingo. Public opinion of what really happened goes back and forth throughout the movie until the truth is finally revealed.

The film, based on a true story, features a mostly Australian and New Zealander cast, including Sam Neill, Bruce Myles, Neil Fitzpatrick, and Charles Tingwell. It was directed by Fred Schepisi and was originally released under the title Evil Angels in Australia and New Zealand. Evil Angels was the title of the 1985 book by John Bryson which first told the story. Meryl Streep read the book and pushed to have it made into a movie.

If you’ve ever heard the quote “Dingoes ate my baby,” it came from a line said by Lindy in A Cry in the Dark.

A Cry in the Dark is a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Is Lindy a falsely accused grieving mother who suffered an unthinkable tragedy or a horrible monster who murdered her own innocent baby? Will justice prevail? You’ll have to watch til the end to find out. If you love true crime stories, mysteries, or courtroom dramas, this movie is for you.

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