As I livetweeted The Deer Hunter, I started to wonder: Could this film exist today? Would it even be made today? I wasn't wondering about the subject matter, and whether viewers would care about hard-working men who are shipped off to Vietnam. Nor was I thinking of an Iraq-based version. Rather, I wondered if the modern moviegoer would sit through all three hours of The Deer Hunter. I wondered if they would allow themselves to go on this slow-moving, but infinitely rewarding journey.
Times have definitely changed. With our easily distracted modern attention spans, few if any filmmakers dare to let a story slowly build. We don't have the patience to rest inside a scene, not only absorbing information that moves the plot forward, but simply experiencing the life of the characters we're watching. These days, the most we get is a plot that builds slowly to increase tension and pluck at our nerves. Not one that simply rests in the moment. Not one that takes 3 hours to tell its story slowly but surely. Not a war movie ready to linger on the happiness of a wedding and the easy-going nature of everyday life.