Monday, June 17, 2013

Apocalypse Now

While beginning to come apart at the seems in his hotel room in Saigon, an Army Captain (Martin Sheen) receives specific and top secret orders: travel up the Nung River into Cambodia and assassinate a respected Colonel (Marlon Brando) who has gone off the reservation and established himself as an idol of the local people. Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola's nightmarish vision of the Vietnam War, is a vivid and brooding look at a descent into madness. Working from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Coppola along with screenwriter John Milius concoct a haunting episodic film featuring unprecedented photography from Vittorio Storaro, indelible performances from Sheen, Brando, and Robert Duvall (plus an outrageous one from Dennis Hopper as a drugged out photojournalist), and that is perhaps as grabbing and particular as any other ever made. On a side note, I watched the Redux version released in 2001 which features mostly unnecessary footage, including an interlude on a downed helicopter with several Playboy models and an extended scene at a French plantation. These additions make the film drag and I think you'd be better off viewing the film in its initial format.