Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Starring: Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper
The Horror! Another great review by Adam Truscott
The One Where I Think I Heart Apocalypse Now
Is Apocalypse Now the greatest war movie ever, or a pondering mess?
I think it’s a bit of both.
Watching on Blu Ray (Thanks to Christmas, and the little baby Jesus), the film just smacks you in the face. Epic, Iconic. It’s Hollywood Legend. Unavoidable.
My film-watching path in 2011 was meant to jump from Tarantino straight to Scorsese, but I had to rethink that. I needed a stopgap. And that beautiful Full Disclosure box set, (FINALLY including Hearts Of Darkness!), was just staring me square in the eyes. Hang over, or no hangover, it demanded watching.
Apocalypse Now is absolutely a film that deserves to be written about. I’m just not too sure what I want to say about it.
My Dad popped in to say Happy New Year, and I offered to lend him the Bluey. Despite loving the film, or the idea of the film, he declined. He said he knew the film inside out, line for line, and was surprised I didn’t too.
So why watch it? Why be so keen to import it from the States and get hold of it?
Valid questions. And as it ticks on in the background, I struggle to answer any of them.
Certain sections of Apocalypse Now are up there with the very best bits of cinema ever created. The Ride of the Valkyries sequence is incredible. So cinematic. Such a great use of sound, and visuals. It gets the blood pumping.
Robert Duvall channeling Robert DeNiro helps. It’s probably my favorite role of his. His demented search for his surfboard summing up the craziness of the film.
And then it hits me.
The craziness of war. That’s why I revisit this film so much.
No film has ever got close to creating that on screen, for me.
The whole film, if you sit back and think about it, has very little to do with war itself.
It’s about what that war has done to people.
Kurtz going a bit head mental is an obvious example. The soldiers trying to get on stage with the Playboy girls is another, more subtle example. Turning on the girls, when the soldiers see their routine as more of a tease.
This war is going to end, says Kilgore. And he just nods. No one really knows what to say to him.
For anyone tempted by the Bluey, I’m sure you won’t need persuading. If you love the film, you’ve probably already imported it.
But I can’t stress enough how impressive it looks.
The film looks like it was made yesterday. Not in a Predator waxwork re-release kind of way. It just drips sweat. Martin Sheen is permanently drenched, and for the first time I’ve seen it, it feels like that is dripping off the screen.
The sound too, is incredible. It obviously peaks forty minutes in, with that scene, but what a scene. That is what cinema is all about.
And to finally have both versions plus Hearts Of Darkness? Well, that’s the stuff of dreams.
Even if it’s all just a little bit pointless, I certainly get some satisfaction.