Apocalypse Now
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Year: 1979
TRT: 2:33

Reviewed: 2/16/2003

this film is captivating.

I was considering just leaving it at that, but this film is such a great look at some of the more deeply affecting consequences of war. While there are some battle scenes, this takes more of an observational role as we follow the main character Lt. Willard, assigned to a secret ops mission, as he makes his way up the river to find a single man: a Colonel who has apparently become extremely mentally unbalanced, and to take him out "with extreme prejudice." Through this journey we see the more disturbing acts of war on the human psyche, and how asinine it can all really be sometimes.

So this movie is really tops, from the cinematography and sound (which both won Academy Awards) to the editing and the acting. Martin Sheen does a great job as Willard, as do the various officers and soldiers he meets along the way. Especially good are Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, and the relatively small but effective turn of Colonel Kurtz by Marlon Brando. There is even a brief appearance by R. Lee Ermy as a helicopter pilot. While most hard-core war films leave your nerves raw from the sheer violence, this one leaves you shuddering and thinking about the horrors.

Great Scenes: A little Wagner, anyone?

Media Notes: The 1999 DVD put out by Paramount has some decent stuff on it. The only thing I will say is the digitizing isn't exactly the best in some places, which is too bad since the cinematography in this film is always top-notch, and shouldn't be fucked with. I'm sure they corrected this when they put out the extended "Apocalypse Now Redux" in 2001, which has more footage added plus I'm sure a whole lot more, I dunno, haven't seen it yet so I can't say.