365 films in 2016: film 14 (Apocalypse Now 1979)

Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 18.20.46
The Vietnam war movie is kind of a defining moment for a director, and in the space of ten years we had 3 of the biggest, Born On The Fourth Of July, Full Metal Jacket and of course Apocalypse Now, im not gonna talk to much about Born On The Fourth Of July because it’s not as fitting with the others but full metal jacket and Apocalypse Now are two films i see getting compared a lot and i never really understood why, i mean they’re both war movies but they don’t have to much else in common, i’ve always seen full metal jacket as a film about the horrors of war, being less about one character and more about a war that accomplished nothing, whereas Apocalypse Now is a story about people that is set in war, sure there are some social and political messages weather it be about soldiers fighting with no one in control or tv news trying to doctor footage to hide the truth of how the war is going or one of my favorite scenes in the movie, the juxtaposition of a cassette of a mother telling her son how excited she is for him to come home and how everyone’s excited to see him again as he lays dead on the floor.

you do start to connect with the characters after a while, the majority of their time isn’t spent in combat which i like because coppola didn’t want to make a war movie with apocalypse now, the enemy they’re fighting against is almost never seen either and that’s because Willard’s mission isn’t to kill vietnamese it’s to kill Kurtz. You start to sympathise with Kurtz the same way willard does before you even see him as the film goes on and you never really know what to expect from him, you don’t see Kurtz till the third act of the film and he’s just a person, he’s not an evil warlord bathing in blood, he’s just kind of regular (well as regular as Marlon Brando can be). i think that’s the beauty of Apocalypse Now, and it’s kind of sad, Kurtz just doesn’t want to conform to what the army tells him to do and because he won’t he has to die, i like to think of his manifest destiny in a way, it’s inevitable. Kurtz is the buffalo, Willard is the man with the gun, which is symbolised in the film with the sacrificial killing of a real buffalo.

It’s nearly impossible to talk about Apocalypse Now without mentioning the hell coppola had to go though to make the movie, from dealing with Brando’s diva like attitude, sets getting destroyed by weather, actors having heart attacks, real wars going on in the area as he was filming the movie and even threatening to commit suicide during the filming several times, it’s incredible to think this film even saw the light of day, but somehow it did and we’re lucky it did because Apocalypse Now is coppola’s masterpiece, which is saying a lot if you look at what else the guy has made. I can’t really describe why i like this film so much, i’ve kind of struggled to come up with this block of text but Apocalypse Now really is a beautiful film, the cinematography, the writing, the performances, everything comes together to create the best film one of the last giants of hollywood has ever made, Apocalypse Now is a 9/10.


In 2016 i will be watching 365 films (yes, i know there are 366 days this year) and writing about how I felt about them, I decided to do this just because over the last year or so i’ve Sort of pulled away from film and I wanna start to enjoy watching movies again. This will normally be just notes I made or thoughts I have about the film.


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