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DVD Reviews

May 24, 2012
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By Jared Curtis


Directed by Liza Johnson

Rated R, 97 minutes

Films about war normally focus on a male hero, sometimes wounded, returning home to his previous life. “Return” flips the script, telling the story of Kelli (Linda Cardellini of “Freaks and Geeks”), a wife and mother of two, who returns home after a tour of duty. Although Kelli is happy to be home with her husband (Michael Shannon) and children, she soon becomes bored with everyday life. She quits her job and begins drinking heavily, ultimately losing her license as her world crashes down around her. She seeks companionship from Bud (John Slattery), a fellow AA member, but the empty void inside her grows. Michael Shannon does strong work, as always, but it’s Cardellini who helps the film reach its emotional peak. There’s nothing flashy about “Return,” but its soft-spoken portrayal of a soldier’s struggle to find her place is as real as it gets. CV

‘The Deer Hunter’

Directed by Michael Cimino

1978, Rated R, 182 minutes

Winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and listed as the 53rd greatest movie of all time by the American Film Institute, “The Deer Hunter” is a classic in the truest form. The film follows a group of friends (including Robert De Niro, John Savage and Christopher Walken) from a small, working-class town in Pennsylvania who are sent off to Vietnam and discover the horrors of war. The film unfolds in sections as we are introduced to friends, their town and their love of hunting. The film then shifts to Vietnam as they become prisoners of war and are forced to play Russian roulette against each other. The final part shows how the friends deal with the aftermath of the war in their own ways. Although “The Deer Hunter” is an emotional tale of friendship and war, the film is known for horrifying Russian roulette scenes that will leave viewers speechless. CV

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