Review this movie
Sep 10, 2011Francis Coppola's haunting war movie "Apocalypse Now" presents (obviously) powerful performance from Marlon Brando and a lasting appeal. Easily one of the greatest, and possibly the darkest, war movie I have ever encountered. -REDUX VERSION-
The movie once again throws us off the hook with chilling cinematography and realism. However, most of the added parts are trivial and have no depth in scene compared to the original scenes of "Apocalypse Now".… Expand
Jan 12, 2011My personal favorite film of all time. It changed the way I view film, art, and even life. The acting is flawless, it has the most beautiful cinematography in the history of film, the messages are powerful and haunting. It stays with you the rest of your life. Which is something not many films can claim.
Nov 1, 2011A cinematic triumph in every way, excellent writing, superb cast and wonderfully acted (Sheen, Brando and Duvall and all excellent) I've only recently watched this for the first time as I purchased the collector's edition blu ray and haven't yet watched Redux, but the original is the best war film I have ever seen, and it has firmly put itself in my top 10 all time favourite movies
May 28, 2012The time comes for everyone. Never at the same time or under the same circumstances. But it does arrive. Loss is unavoidable. Whether it's our sanity. Our dreams. Our hopes. The very identity of who we once were. Definitely friends and family. Those usually go or rearrange themselves into a new unexpected landscape. Loss. One way or another. Whether we admit it or choose to live in denial. Loss is there to stay.
Milius and Coppola made it clear. Their message of loss and madness stays with you in a haunting way. You just can't wash it off. "The horrors," Brando insists. The things we see. We experience. We find ourselves doing. Who are these new men we've become along the way. Where is that guy I left behind when I started? Is there ever a true way back? And if so, to where?
There is no doubt the content of the film carries a truly emotional and psychological impact. Yes. The context is war. The most extreme of violent acts. A perfect metaphor for the loss of innocence and the discovery of life's real intent. It turns out life doesn't always have your back. No matter how good you are. No matter how good a side you fight for. Sometimes life just doesn't have your back. All characters are great studies of humanity's journey. But some of the more obvious ones can't be avoided. Like those Playboy models. So glossy and hopeful in their early arrival. Fireworks was the theme. The object of everyone's dreams. Dreams finally buried in mud and despair inside that rain soaked tent. Innocent beauties confessing their sacrifices while handing over their honor as if it was a buffet. Tall price to pay for one's dreams. "They made me do all kinds of horrible things," she says. "I just want a simple boy to like me... Are you a simple boy?" And then the next guy interrupts, "I'm next madam." The things we sold along the way. And to make the irony colder let's not forget that those girls traveled to the front lines to 'help' the soldiers. They just didn't know how deep a sale this was going to be.
Remember the French? Holding on to their family land next to the river? There for generations? But they do say they came from France, brought the supplies from Brazil, and taught the locals to work with them. To save them, as they say. Was this education in exchange for slavery? I didn't see any Vietnamese workers at that lavish dinner table. Are the once ignorant locals glad to be enslaved? Whose land is it then? Perhaps the French will die in this land after all. Perhaps someone will educate them on a new form of slavery. The slavery to your land that was never yours.
The final discovery of Marlon Brando was epic. You can feel that man's energy jumping out of the screen. Each and every one of his words perfectly calculated. Telling us of the propaganda of war. The perpetuity and necessity of the lies. The machine that moves all of us. Influences us. Tricks us to participate willingly. Is this war just a backdrop for life's journey. Who do we lie to? Others? Ourselves? One day this war will end. And then what? There is always room for fresh new lies to believe.
Martin Sheen was amazingly handsome in this movie. Great shape. A man's man. I always forget Martin was once a great good looking stud. He seems to have aged fast into his more mature roles of late. Regardless, the acting was on point at all times. As if made of steel. Where do you take your acting career from that? Perhaps that's why his role seemed to mature so quickly after Apocalypse.
Marlon Brando can't truly be congratulated in words. The man's talents are pure art in motion. You simply surrender to the beast and let him take you whole. He's barely in the movie, yet there were times when I though he was going to reach out of the screen and grab me. Amazing.
The rest of the cast was rounded to perfection. Who could forget Robert Duvall? Genius! The part reads as if written expressly for him. I would have given him back the surf board. Don't wanna mess with that guy.
The film made me a bit nostalgic of older movies. We have to keep in mind this production took place before digital imagery was the soup of the day at fifty cents a pop. Those explosions are real. The groups of helicopters are real. The airplanes doing fly overs and blowing up crap, well, they are real. That's film making with balls. Coppola had the privilege of directing the real thing. No green screen in sight. It must have been an amazing experience. Although, if we put the time of production in perspective, that is, the seventies, Francis was probably doing business as it should be done. "OK. We need a dozen helicopters over there!" Awesome. What balls.… Expand
Feb 8, 2014Being unique is not always a positive attribute for a film, but with Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola’s devastating portrayal of the Vietnam War, it most certainly is. At least in my opinion however, the two-and-a-half-hour-long depiction of war’s atrocities is not that great when regarded simply as a film; it’s much more a work of art, drastically showcasing the futility of this notorious bloodshed, resulting in millions of casualties over its duration of almost 20 years. Apocalypse Now fuels hatred and incomprehension for these happenings in the audience and makes a major pacifistic statement through the metaphorical journey of one man. But apart from the stunning cinematography, the 1979 epic lacks some cinematic traits to make it a thoroughly thrilling and rewatchable experience and can thus not get a top rating from me when regarded as a film.… Expand
Dec 1, 2013The moment we are introduced to the main character, it's clear what the war has done to his mind. He is in a haze. Part of special operations, his tasks often involve assassinating people deemed hazardous to the war effort. He is not expected to think for himself. Actually the dossier he is given over his next target he only opens to read once he has set off for the mission, and it's instantly clear that even if he could find sympathy for his target, he must at all costs finish the mission.
The focus here is of course on the Vietnam War. A colonel has gone renegade and needs to be killed. A captain is sent to do the job. On his way he comes across various units, one of whom treats war as a picnic outing. Human nature, it would seem, would politicize almost anything. Video cameras roll as soldiers pretend to be caught in an ambush. Officers having their pictures taken for publicity stunts. This would have been disturbing in itself, this total disregard for human suffering, of the people of the land they have invaded and their own wounded and killed. But it is apparent that these men only do these things to feel normal, or whatever passes for normal during a bloody war.
As the captain travels up the river, the banks are littered with unattended dead. No one has the time and the interest to bury them. The whole pointlessness of war is shown with poignant imagery. One would think two wars that caused the deaths of tens of millions would have been enough to teach mankind the lesson of a lifetime. Still about one and a half million Vietnamese had to perish, not to count the dead of several other wars. And the lesson is still not learnt.
It becomes more disturbing as Captain Willard goes deeper and closer to the source of the conflict. Command structures have completely vanished. A mass hysteria seems to have gripped these men. They joke and laugh like maniacs and kill with complete apathy. This before Willard has even reached his destination. But nothing prepares you for what awaits him at the end of his journey. The colonel has gathered himself a cult following of native Cambodians and Vietnamese among some Americans too. That place gave me the creeps.
The film explored how the violence and cruelty of war alters the nature of men fighting it, especially wars of an imperial nature. How the soldiers become desensitized and dehumanize everyone, suspect everyone, kill with impunity. They may not be aware of this at the moment, but killing a human being, even one you will always consider somewhere between your pets and an insect, will have an effect on you. Coppola succeeds in showing this message loud and clear.
Martin Sheen tackles his character with a relaxed laid-back approach. He is in no rush to reach his destination. The journey is the real part of the story. But when he does reach the colonel, even after everything he has seen on the way, including his own slip of character, he still is surprised at the colonel's doings. Marlon Brando plays a lunatic with extreme precision.
This being a war movie, the scale of the human involvement and military machinery was captured effectively. The costumes and make up department did a wondrous job. The equatorial climate has everyone perspiring constantly. You know that they hate the weather, the country, the jungles, and most disturbingly of all, the people. Their dead count for nothing and they lie and rot.
I must admit that this movie made me very uncomfortable and unsettled at times. The way some of the characters seem to lose their minds is palpable and frightening, like losing it is itself chosen as a way to remain sane in the face of such devastation of human lives.… Expand
Apr 4, 2014A Phenomenal triumph! Haunting, powerful and an outstanding piece of cinema. A very dark and psychological war film, with a great, powerful and memorable performance from Marlon Brando, as well as the rest of the cast who are all terrific. The action, destruction and every little detail is tremendously captured on camera. Rarely in movies can the film makers make such tension between characters, using superb lighting and soundtrack. The air assault on the village never gets old, love it! Classic masterpiece!… Expand
Jun 25, 2013Anyone reading this now is reading my full honest review of this legendary picture, and while the original is classic the Redux is Legend...
Obviously any film enthusiast can agree that "Apocalypse Now" is essentially a War film like no other.
A tense hullucinogenic, physically exhausting movie which can be only be described as part War, part something that doesn't really have a Genre, Apocalypse Now is something indescribable unless you see it and even then it's hard to put into words, as Roger Ebert said in a statement too true: "Longer or shorter, redux or not, Apocalypse Now is one of the central events of my life as a filmgoer".
Again one thing i love about this movie is the success it had after going against all odds in Pre-Production, for those who don't know Brando showed up way too overweight and was reportedly very hard to work with and would require a body double, Martin Sheen had a Heart Attack at the age of 36 and returned to work a month later, What would be a 16-week shooting took over 239 days of torture, Typhoon Olga destroyed many expensive sets, extras and crew all got malaria and disease, Sam Bottoms (The actor who plays Lance) was constantly on drugs while shooting, Martin Sheen's brother did half of the Voice-Over Narrative due to his Brother's Sickness, the killing of the water buffalo attracted obvious animal protection laws, the ending was re-written countless times, Coppola had to make a film out of 2300 hours of recorded footage and of course for obvious reasons Francis Ford Coppola threatened suicide countless times.
That's just a handful of problems and stuff that happened (if you're interested in learning more go watch his wife's Documentary about the movie, "Hearts of Darkness: A Filmaker's Apocalypse").
Finally beginning the movie Hellicopters fly across a burning jungle all while "The End The Doors" plays out, Captain Benjamin Willard (Martin Sheen) is Drunk, Drugged out and wasting away in a room in Saigon (Anyone anctious to know this was shot on Martin's 36th Birthday who actually WAS drunk and drugged out, he told Copolla to film what was happening and leave him to it, what happened as you saw he actually broke the mirror, bled out then reportedly attacked Francis, who's crew were so frightened they wanted to stop yet Coppola ordered to continue.)
Being called upon by Generals (most notably a cameo by Harrison Ford under the name General. Lucas "wink") he is ordered to exterminate "with extreme prejudice" General Walter Kurtz (Marlon Brando), A Green Barret who's literally gone off the deep end.
What follows is Willard's mission up the Vietnamese river on the boat narrating his views on the war and Kurtz in the Dossier given to him questioning his respect for Kurtz as well as his mission.
With his crew (among them Laurence Fishburne's first role), there all of them witness the horrors of the war and a vital lesson: Never get off the boat.
On their journey they encounter kind,yet nutcase Seargent. Kilgore (a manic performance by Robert Duvall) who utters my favourite quote "I love the smell of napalm in the morning, A Tiger, Playboy Bunnies (including real-life playmate of the Year Cynthia Wood) A Sanpan, abandoned troops, the French (In a mansion scene which should have stayed out the redux) and finally at the "Heart of Darkness" (arriving at Kurtz's location)
Arriving at the location where Kurtz is, is like jumping into a whole new movie, the natives see Kurtz as a God-like figure who constantly offer his views on life, war and everything in general one person who takes it too literally is an american photographer known only as "the photojournalist" (an expertly casted Dennis Hopper), Seeing Kurtz for the first time is probably one of the most chilling, tense, surreal moments in Motion Picture History.
The ending reflects the beginning with "The End" blaring out again as well as luckily being able to hear Kurtz's view like we did Willard's.
Not giving away the ending it is, in the sickest sense beautiful, unexplainable, and left me as physically exhausted as the soldiers (It should be noted that many people who have seen it have declared it so very accurate to how it was like experiencing Vietnam.
Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando are unforgetable characters, Sheen to me represents the every day soldier, ultimately he decides to just go with the flow and do what is neccesary to survive no matter how truly horrible it is. Brando on the other hand playing such a high ranking officer has seen more and therefore lost all hope for humanity and above all himself, making me wonder at the end will Willard be destined to follow in Kurtz's footsteps?...
Aside from that everything is just incredible, the supporting actors, the destroyed jungle, villages, vehicles "The Attack of the Valkyries" helicopter Scene is something i don't think i'll ever forget and though the Redux is in a sense too extended for it's own good, it will forever be a question to me what my opinion would be had i seen the original version first.
Final Verdict: Francis Ford Coppola Thank you, Thank you Sir for one of the greatest experiences me as a film fan and movie goer could possibly have. there's really no way to end this review due to it's magnitude, but please do see this movie as soon as, it's so incredibly hard to find on DVD in the UK and that's wierd considering it just had a sudden re-release in theatres last April.… Expand
Nov 8, 2013A visually stunning and superbly directed piece of work about the horrors of war, Francis Ford Coppola's Vietnam War epic is what I consider one of the best depictions of the war in Vietnam next to Stanley Kubrick's equally superior "Full Metal Jacket". Everything about this movie is perfect: the characters, the setting, the music, and the cinematography. "Apocalypse Now" is definitely listed on my list of favorite movies of all time.… Expand