Warning: Spoilers ahead!
Following up from The Godfather Part I & II, Francis Coppola in 1979 with his now famous film Apocalypse Now came to theaters. It was a critical and commercial success. Years after the fact, in the early 2000s, Coppola decided to re-edit the film by adding almost an hour more compared to the original film. This was labeled Apocalypse Now: Redux. It was criticized for the added scenes being viewed as unnecessary and serving no real purpose to the story. Coppola listened to this and came out with the newest version of the film “Apocalypse Now: Final Cut” which shortened the Redux version by half an hour making the movie only three hours. I got the pleasure of watching a rescreening of this movie in the theaters and I come to you with this review.
Apocalypse Now is set during the Vietnam War and is loosely based on a book called Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. It follows a character by the name of Benjamin Willard who is set on a classified mission to take out a colonel by the name of Kurtz because he went rogue. Our protagonist sets off on a journey through the jungle with a couple of others following to take out Kurtz, but throughout the journey, they are witnesses and in some cases directly involved in the despicable actions committed during the war. The movie itself is a social commentary about war/PTSD/power and the idea of someone losing their mind; overall, the movie contains many motifs that make the movie as deep as the Mariana Trench with its ability to be analyzed.
The cinematography was objectively perfect and made the film incredibly engaging. A lot of the movie is filmed with extremely dramatic lighting that adds to the look of the film and helps make you more involved and invested. My favorite use of this is when we first meet the character of Kurtz; you can hear him talk and see the outline of his figure but you don’t see his face until a more dramatic reveal of him stepping out of the shadows to confront the protagonist. The use of sunsets made the film all the more gorgeous to watch. It definitely improved the experience of watching it on the big screen which, if you get the chance, I’d highly recommend. From the opening shot of the movie all the way to the end it was damn near perfect with every shot.
Watching the movie felt as if you were watching actual war footage due to how realistic and dark the movie was. The scenes were long and dialogue-heavy, adding to the immersion of the movie in my opinion. When watching this movie, I would go in expecting not a sit-down casual movie but a hanging-off-the-edge-of-your-seat type of film. It’s a movie you’d really have to pay attention to; it’s the war movie of all war movies. It’s a film that can’t be surpassed and is a must-watch for movie lovers and history buffs. Overall, this was a perfect and must-see film.
Disclaimer: You should always check movie rating guidelines to determine whether or not you would be comfortable watching it. The R-Hi does not endorse any film and watching is at the viewer’s discretion.
Featured image credit: Laurent Durieux