DVD REVIEW: The Deer Hunter

Series •••• Picture/Sound •••• Extras ••••
Michael Cimino's seminal 1978 film about the Vietnam War's effect on a group of friends from a blue-collar Pennsylvania town gets solid treatment in this two-disc reissue. Cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond's harrowing images, in 2.35:1 widescreen, are now highly detailed, and the colors of the jungle (and the blood) look disturbingly real. The 5.1-channel sound is at its best during the Russian-roulette sequences, with spectators' chatter buzzing all around as the soldiers try to survive the game. It's a prime example of sound effects adding important meaning to the story. Decent extras include a commentary by Zsigmond and critic Bob Fisher (but where are Cimino and Robert De Niro?). You also get six deleted scenes, three of which help illuminate the initial (and most brutally visceral) Russian roulette sequence. [R] English, Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Surround; Spanish, Dolby Digital 2-channel mono; letterboxed ( 2.35:1) and anamorphic widescreen; one dual- and one single-layer disc.