Apocalypse Now is loosely based on a book named ‘In The Heart Of Darkness’. Francis Ford Coppola in this 153 minute lacerating experience attempts one of the most ambitious and perilous endeavor in cinematic history – to transport his viewer right in the middle of the savagery which unfolded in Vietnam.
Apocalypse Now is more about the human mind rather than the war. It is easy to be fooled by this, since it does actively pursue its plot. But it is those abhorrent images which transpire on the screen that are the actual narrative. One could make the case, and to much success I presume, that Apocalypse Now has probably the greatest cinematic footage ever shot. The camera of Vittorio Storaro concots a pirouette of death all over. But even in the amidst of this violence, the screenplay by John Milius and Coppola still holds a spotlight over a bunch of characters towards whom we foster a sense of emotional attachment.
Coppola attempts to explore in Apocalypse Now, the concomitants of violence on the human mind. Take the scene with the Playboy bunnies which brings forth the animalistic libido fostered in men in continuous combat. However Coppola draws a line between the soldiers who fleet through this movie and the crew on board the boat. The crew that stays throughout this journey, a descendence from sanity to insanity, make an effort to preserve their humanity. There is an extremely heart-warming scene where Lance (Sam Bottom) takes on board a puppy which he finds in his ambush and takes care of it.
I have often come down hard on war movies while talking about them, and this maybe due to the fact of my personal beliefs that war holds no nobility or morality. Francois Truffaut once said ‘It’s not possible to make an anti-war movie, because all war movies, with their energy and sense of adventure, end up making combat look like fun’. However, Coppola seems to turn the tables on him, for the war here does look like fun, just not to the viewer.
Apocalypse Now belongs to the history books and it feels to me that whatever I talk about in praise of this movie will amount to nothing more than if I praise water. But sure as hell, I will never forget this movie. It held me spellbound and gaping at the violence that unfolds in war, and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for anyone who had to witness it. It is not an anti or pro war movie, but it sure is a pro-human movie.
RATING :- 9.5 / 10
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